Happy Earth Day: Businesses Cut Out Going Green

The recession is causing businesses to reduce environmental efforts.

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Environmentalists often argue that "greening" one's business not only helps save the Earth, but also can make a business more efficient, thus saving money. But according to a new Wells Fargo/Gallup poll, many business owners are finding environentally-friendly reforms to be expendable when cutting back.

One-third of the small-business owners surveyed said that the economy has affected their plans to become more environmentally friendly. What's the main reason? Seventy percent of the business owners cited the perception that customers will not want to pay more for environmentally-friendly products--up from 37 percent in 2007.

But there is some good news for the green movement. Over two-thirds of the owners have said that they have started to use more energy-efficient products like green light bulbs in the last year.

These results seem to reinforce a point I made in my list of overrated small businesses. "Going green" to save money on energy, but it's not clear that many customers are willing to green their buying habits if that comes at a premium. It sounds like many businesses are finding that unwillingness to be the case.

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