Investors are the lifeblood of many new businesses. They provide the capital and the financial impetus to get things started and hopefully provide the lynch pin for the creation of a successful company. There are plenty of places nowadays to find individuals and organisations who could be interested in your idea. It’s one of the reasons why so many startups are getting off the ground, perhaps more so than in the past.

But many modern investors are looking for something beyond the initial concept or a good business plan.

They want to invest in a business startup that believes in being green.

The rise of the socially responsible investor is a fairly new phenomenon and it is beginning to have a real impact. That doesn’t mean your business needs to have a climate changing product. It does mean, however, that your company intends to do all that it can to run in a green and sustainable way.

If you are planning a startup, marketing your carbon friendly attitude could mean more investors flocking to your digital door and willing to sign up.

The Impact on Startups

Not having a green agenda may harm the amount and quality of investors you can attract. While your idea could well be a good one, if your potential backers are looking for that little bit more than a great idea, there’s a possibility of losing out to a similar startup that does have those green credentials.

There’s plenty of competition for investors both online and in the real world, so ensuring that sustainability is a key issue actually works better – and it’s not going to harm your relationship with backers who don’t see it as a priority either.

How to Go Green and Attract Ethical Investors

More and more businesses are starting to see financial, social and environmental sustainability as the core features of their operation. According to Chris Hines at The Wave in Bristol:

“There is a real opportunity for commercial companies to adopt a new model of doing business that reduces environmental impacts and maximises social and environmental benefits, at the same time as helping them to be more successful financially and attract investors.”

Step 1: Do Your Research

What does it actually mean to be a green business nowadays? There is plenty of information out there about how to make your startup sustainable, from switching to LED bulbs in the office to creating eco-friendly spaces that show how you are willing to invest in the health and wellbeing of your staff and customers. If you’re new to green, doing your research is important. That means knowing how to run a low carbon office and reduce your impact on the environment. It also includes what kind of suppliers and manufacturers you want your product associated with.

Step 2: Build Green into Your Business Plan

It’s no use having this as an add-on or afterthought. If you want to attract the right investors and build your credibility, you need to create your business with the notion of environmental sustainability at the forefront. Yes, you need to put in place a good business plan and have costed everything, planned for growth and wowed your potential investor with your product or service. But the green stuff needs to run through all of this and it’s much easier to achieve if you build it into your business plan from the start.

Step 3: Build it into your Brand

The best place to market your green credentials is to make sure that your brand revolves around it. Many companies nowadays push their low carbon attitude as part of their marketing, often devoting a whole page on their website to how they deliver on their commitments. That might include having policies in place for how you run the office, the type of vehicles you opt for in your sales fleet, who you buy your electricity from and companies that you do business with.

Creating a Green Product

Of course, you might want to go the whole hog and create a green product that is going to benefit the world. All the above still applies but you have the added advantage that you can also get access to a fast-growing market of people who want to source green products and that makes you more viable to certain investors who want to see this kind of change.

Maintaining Your Green Credentials

Being sustainable and thinking about the planet is not something you can choose to do as and when you feel like it. You need to be enthusiastic about it and willing to make the changes that are beneficial to the environment and those around you. In other words, you have to set the example.

It’s easier to be green than many people think. If you are planning a startup and looking around for investors, it’s time to consider how green your attitude is and the discover the benefits of creating your business plan around the core premise of long term sustainability.

Written by Anna Lemos