Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Find Scott on

How Can Your Small Business Take Advantage of the Tax Incentives in the Stimulus Package for Efficiency Upgrades?

You gotta spend money to save money. For energy efficiency upgrades, that saying couldn’t be more timely or accurate. Energy efficiency programs and rebates are getting a real shot in the arm from, among other things, the stimulus package, plus many other federal, state, and local programs. As a result of the stimulus package, energy efficiency tax credits have been raised from 10% of cost to 30%. The maximum credit has been raised from $500 to $1500, and more expensive…

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How Can You Trust Carbon Offsets?

You’re a small business owner and you’ve got your hands full with credit card readers, vender accounts, customer complaints, and advertising cold-callers…and do we even have to mention the recession?  Still, you want to do your part to help reduce the impacts of climate change, and you’ve heard that one of the ways your company can reduce your carbon footprint is by offsetting your emissions with what they call carbon offsets. There’s a lot of information out there about carbon offsets,…

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How Is Your Business Preparing for the Depression Ahead?

The recession deepens.  Even Barack Obama is saying that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  Unemployment is getting dangerously close to 10% nationwide, a level we haven’t seen in decades. With every cloud is a silver lining, of course, and I think one that we must focus on is that we should be taking this time to plant some seeds that will pay off handsomely down the road.  I’m an avid gardener.  I live in San Francisco, and have a garden full…

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Fastronauts–Eco-Friendly Kids Toys That Also Battle Obesity

The Greener Gadgets Conference is rapidly approaching on February 27th in New York City.  Aspiring social entrepreneurs submit designs to the Greener Gadgets Design Competition in the hopes of being featured at the event and to gain some recognition for their products.  I voted for one that goes beyond green.  “Fastronauts” are not only green in that they are bike powered and teach kids something about energy, they help kids do something that will lead them to a healthy life:  be active. …

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Starting an Environmental Non-Profit: How Similar to a Green Business?

In a recent post, I interview Jack Norris,  co-founder of Vegan Outreach, about the environmental impacts of our diets, and how he markets his organization.  There is a great deal of similarity between some non-profits and for-profits, and aspiring social entrepreneurs have a choice to make in this regard.  There are both benefits and drawbacks to either option. In the case of a for-profit business, especially in the green community, the obvious drawback is that customers won’t donate to your…

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Buying Into a Green Business: and Others For Sale

How many of us would love to own a green business but don’t know where to start?  There’s the business model, revenue forecasting, capital investment, incorporation documents, potential partnerships, competitive analysis, marketing, insurance, and a whole host of other considerations, including what to name the business.  It’s a daunting task, to say the least. For those who are a bit cowed by the prospects of starting from scratch, there is another alternative:  buy into an existing green business.  There are…

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Book Review–75 Green Businesses by Glenn Croston

Book review– 75 Green Businesses You Can Start to Make Money and Make a Difference by Glenn Croston, Ph.D This book is a nice complement to Ecopreneuring by John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, in that while the latter is a lifestyle book, i.e., what would it be like to be a social entrepreneur, this book cuts to the chase and describes, as its title says, 75 different green business opportunities that people can start.  It gives a relative scale on…

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Book Review–Ecopreneuring: Putting People and Planet Before Profit, by John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist

Book Review:  Ecopreneuring:  Putting People and Planets Before Profit, by John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist.     “One of the biggest ironies of our growth model is that we’re coming to relize that it has failed to make our society particularly satisfied–indeed, the number of americans who say they’re very happy with their lives was higher in 1956 than it is today, though the standard of living has trebled over that half century.” Bill McKibben, in the Foreword.  In Ecopreneuring, Ivanko…

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Reading Between the Lines on Obama’s Inauguration Speech: What Does It Mean for the Green Economy?

George W. Bush sat just a few feet behind Barack Obama during the new President’s Inauguration address, delivered on a frigid yet sunny Washington, D.C. day.  The former President appeared warmly dressed but must have felt a distinct chill in the stern repudiation he was publicly receiving, however eloquently Mr. Obama delivered it.  CNN’s camera showed Bush, wearing his best poker face, flinch ever so slightly when Mr. Obama suggested, “We will restore science to its rightful place.” It was…

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