Women entrepreneurship and green businesses are both on the rise. Often, they both join to create a wonderful combination of wits and sustainability. Women are a formidable force in business today, and many are taking the helm at businesses built on green policies. The combination of going green and women leaders is dynamic as more people become aware that going green is the future. The following examples illustrate the power women wield in today’s exciting new green world.
Destiny USA, in Syracuse, New York, is a huge environmentally friendly shopping and entertainment complex built on land that oil tanks had once blighted. Destiny USA features stores for both bargain hunters and luxury shoppers, and it contains a movie theater complex. The entire site relies on solar energy, biomass, and geothermal in order to generate power. According to Melissa Perry, Director of Sustainability at Destiny USA, the complex obtained LEED Gold certification in February 2012. A United States Green Building Council campus plan requires all new venues to build sustainable spaces. Melissa Perry, about the certification, “I am thrilled with this tremendous accomplishment and appreciative of the level of support provided by the U.S. Green Building Council throughout the project’s development. This is an important milestone in our green journey and it shows people that with collaboration and support, even the most challenging sustainability goals can be achieved.”
Michelle Kaufmann is the founder and owner of Michelle Kaufmann Designs, a firm that pioneered the way for green modular housing. Today her firm designs sustainable single-family homes, multiple family dwellings, and resorts. She serves as a design consultant to homeowners, developers, and businesses. The Sierra Club compared her to Henry Ford as far as green homes are concerned, and INC magazine listed her as one of the “The Green 50.” Numerous TV programs and magazines have featured her work in an effort to show the world the benefits of sustainable living. She works tirelessly to educate the public regarding green housing, and several museums feature her designs, including the National Building Museum that features a life-size model of her own modular sustainable home.
In 2009, Jill Feherenbacher founded an online publication named Ecouterre. Her goal was to dispel any prevailing myths regarding green fashion. The publication features sustainable designers and focuses on their products from inception to destruction. The site also shows readers the unfortunate plight of those in other countries who withstand the worst of some of the fashion industry’s cruelties. Her goal is to inform designers and the public regarding green fashion and cosmetics, as well as dispel any myths surrounding them.
Throughout the world, women owned and operated businesses account for 20 to 40 percent of all small and medium sized firms. Some of these women realize the benefits of green business and are successful at harnessing sustainability for success, profit, and a better world.