Green practices and products have translated to higher sales for many U.S. companies, even during the economic downturn from 2008 to 2010, according a recent survey conducted by three sustainability groups.


In the survey of more than 1,300 small businesses conducted last summer, three of four companies reported that their sales of green products and services increased during the recession. Additionally, among those businesses, the greener the company's practices, the higher its sales, according to the survey conducted by Green America, EcoVentures International and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity.


"This survey shows that green business is not just about feeling good; it positively impacts an organization's bottom line," said Julie Cincotta, principal of CLA Organizational Solutions LLC, a survey analyst. "Green products and services are in growing demand by the American public. Small business operators agree that green practices and products can be the key to more sales and bigger profits."


In The Small Business Sustainability Report, the groups warned that "if small businesses do not move to take advantage of the growing market potential, they will fall behind in the emerging green economy." Additionally, small companies risk becoming less competitive relative to larger companies if they fail to take advantage of cost savings from efficiency improvements, the report said.


Nearly four out of five (79 percent) of the survey respondents strongly agreed that offering green products and services gave their businesses a competitive advantage. Seventy-five percent said they plan to expand their portfolio of green products and services.


For the full survey results, click here.