Skip to content
Sustainable Startups – What Are Green Startups?

Sustainable Startups – What Are Green Startups?

Want to know everything about sustainable startups? Then you've come to the right place! At a time when we humans have to deal with largely self-inflicted Environmental issues We also hear about sustainable start-ups from time to time. They do not simply strive for long-term economic success like ordinary start-ups, but combine innovation, profitability and sustainability in such a way that their commitment has a positive impact on the environment and society.

In this article, I would like to give you a comprehensive insight into the world of sustainable start-ups. We'll take a look at what a sustainable startup is and how you can recognize it. I'll also show you which successful examples underline their value for us humans and nature. Let's go!

You can find a brief overview here in advance:

  1. Definition
  2. Features
  3. Examples
  4. Closing words

Definition: What is a sustainable startup?

What is a sustainable or green startup?

A sustainable startup (often also equated with green startup, green start-up or impact startup) is a young, not yet fully established company that has focused on sustainability from the outset. It strives to bring about positive ecological and social change while pursuing an economically viable business model.

There are sustainable start-ups in every sector. However, they are particularly active in sectors such as the renewable energies, the soft mobility or the organic farming. Also in the Fashion industry and in the Construction industry many green founders focus on solving social and ecological problems.

The definitions specified

Even if "sustainable startup" and the synonyms mentioned are usually understood to mean the same thing (and this is how I will handle it in this article as well), there is always a difference. certain disagreement about the correct definition.

I have therefore defined all the designations separately for you again here and the Delimitations and special features briefly highlighted:

  • Sustainable startupThe term "sustainable startup" is sometimes used to describe a young company that operates successfully in the long term. However, it generally describes companies that pursue economic as well as ecological and social goals.
  • Green Startup/Green StartupGreen start-ups focus primarily on the ecological component. By definition, they are newly founded companies that have made environmental and climate protection a central part of their corporate strategy.
  • Impact StartupAn impact startup attempts to solve an ecological or social problem. Ultimately, "impact" refers to the positive change that founders want to bring about in the world with the help of their products and/or services.

Characteristics: What characterizes a sustainable startup?

How to recognize a green startup

In Germany, more and more environmentally aware and responsible young entrepreneurs are striving to achieve a positive impact through their professional activities. According to the annual Study by the Borderstep Institute green startups are now making a a considerable 29 percent of the entire German start-up ecosystem off.

However, in a world where terms such as "sustainability", "green" or "impact" are not protected by law, there is always the Danger of the Greenwashings - i.e. the pretended but not actual ecological commitment and benefit.

In the following, I will therefore introduce you to the specific features by which you can recognize a truly sustainable startup. At the same time, the information should give you a deeper understanding convey how sustainable start-ups "think" and act.

7 distinguishing features of truly green startups

  1. Ecological responsibilitySustainable start-ups attach great importance to environmentally friendly practices. This includes, for example, the use of renewable energies and environmentally friendly production methods or offering environmentally friendly products and services that promote environmental protection.
  2. Economic sustainabilitySustainable start-ups must also be economically viable, especially as they often receive financial support from external investors. Therefore, just like conventional start-ups, they naturally also strive for profitability - but not at the expense of their social and ecological mission, which always has priority.
  3. Social responsibilitySustainable start-ups are often committed to social justice and actively counteract social grievances. For example, they promote fair working conditions and inclusion in their own company or use their commitment to combat the World hunger one.
  4. InnovationTruly sustainable founders develop innovative technologies and business models in order to find lasting, environmentally and socially compatible solutions to existing problems. These can be, for example, new products, services or even completely new (and even surprisingly simple) approaches in traditional industries.
  5. TransparencyTruly green start-ups are generally totally open about their supply chains, production methods and business activities. Nothing is concealed or disguised. Ultimately, this honesty also enhances their reputation, so that, for example, expenditure on Green Marketing campaigns can be saved.
  6. Future-oriented philosophyInstead of short-term profits, sustainable start-ups usually prioritize long-term, global and overarching goals, such as preserving the environment for future generations or integrating social values into our society.

Tip: How you Easy to recognize greenwashing by the way, I will explain in detail in another blog article.

Examples: Which green startups from Germany pursue a sustainable philosophy?

Sustainable startup examples from Germany

Now you know what sustainable start-ups are up to. In the next step, we can confidently turn our attention to some practical examples. The following young companies are impressive proof of what makes the green start-up scene tick and the innovative solutions with which Combining entrepreneurial success with socially responsible and ecological action lets.

SIRPLUS - Saving food from the garbage can

SIRPLUS is a visionary Berlin-based company that rescues surplus but still edible food from businesses before it goes to waste. The team checks them and then sells them in ready-made boxes.

Around two million tons of food have already been saved in this way. The approximately 931 million tons of edible food, that are thrown away every year by retailers, restaurants and consumers worldwide. The young company is thus making a decisive contribution to reducing Reduce food waste.

Hitoca - Sustainably produced organic tea

Hitoca is a sustainable startup from Berlin that is Production of extremely tasty, sustainable organic teas thinks a little further. The company not only pursues environmentally friendly practices, such as a Sustainable pest control and optimized cultivation methods to reduce soil erosion. The team is also committed to fair working conditions and the promotion of diversity throughout the supply chain.

GOTBag - Backpacks made from marine litter

The Mainz-based start-up GOTBag saw the problem of the Plastic waste in the environment as an opportunity and has since developed Robust backpacks made entirely from recycled ocean plastic. The team refers to the waste collected from coastal areas, rivers and the sea with the help of the GOT BAG Indonesia foundation as "Ocean Impact Plastic". It is processed into pellets from which the yarn for the "GOTBag" is then made.

EdelKRAFT - Fitness equipment made from sustainable wood

The young team at the sustainable start-up EdelKRAFT from Berlin is revolutionizing the sports equipment market with unique, timeless and absolutely durable alternatives made from wood from sustainable forestry.packaged plastic-free and shipped climate-neutrally.

As the basis for a long service life, all equipment (e.g. a wall bars or PushUp handles) undergoes an intensive development process with Strict load and usage tests according to EU standards.

Tip: If you can also imagine being a to found sustainablythen be sure to check out the linked blog post!

Found or support sustainable start-ups!

That was our little journey through the world of green start-ups. In my opinion, the most important insight from it is, that each and every one of us can actively contribute to a more sustainable and responsible future in our professional lives. And since every industry is facing ecological and social challenges, innovative ideas and the companies that emerge from them are also needed in all sectors.

At the end of the day, what counts is that you promote positive change through your commitment! This works both professionally as a young entrepreneur or employee in a sustainable startup, as well as from a private perspective as a consumer.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Mahatma Gandhi (more at Founder quotes)

I very much hope that I have been able to help you with this article. Do you have any questions, suggestions or would you like to share your own experiences with a sustainable startup? Then I look forward to your comment.

Stay sustainable, committed and inspired,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: Do you have a great idea for a green startup, but are currently struggling with a lack of small change? Then you'll find the best tips in the next article on how the Founding even without equity can work. Good luck!

Coffee box Suggestions for improvement Newsletter

* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *