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Small Business Owners Willing to Pay More for 'Green' Products


SB Informer
Tuesday, June 12, 2007; 03:57 AM

It may be more expensive "being green" but small business owners are willing to go the extra mile, even if it costs more, to show their customers they care about the environment. The latest survey results from the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index reveal that two-thirds of small business owners surveyed say they would be willing to pay more for goods and services to run their businesses if they knew they were environmentally-friendly.

"Environmental actions I take today with my business will help ensure that our company can continue to grow and thrive in the future," said Harlan Lee, president and CEO of Virginia-based Harlan Lee & Associates -- a consulting company specializing in socially conscious, "green conferencing" techniques. "Combining business practices with a responsibility for the environment is the right thing to do. If every small business owner could share best practices and take simple steps to incorporate environmental activities, together, we could make a very large impact on the success of our businesses, our customers, and ultimately our environment."

Even though a large number of small business owners say they're willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly goods and services, many have concerns that their customers may be reluctant to share the added costs. Fewer than half (43 percent) of all small business owners surveyed believe their customers would be willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly goods and services, while one in every two (49 percent) did not think their customers would be willing to pay more.

Small business owners were also asked whether they favored or opposed specific environmental proposals. Seventy-eight percent favored spending government money to develop alternate sources of fuel for automobiles. Other favored proposals include spending more government money on developing solar and wind power (76 percent) and setting higher emissions and pollution standards for business and industry (75 percent).

"Forty-seven percent of small business owners surveyed said they are already taking steps to show customers they are environmentally-friendly," said Rebecca Macieira-Kaufmann, executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo's small business segment. "It's encouraging to see this vital segment of the economy weave the environment into their everyday business practices."

About the Small Business Index

Since Q3 2003, the quarterly Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index has surveyed small business owners on their perceptions of current conditions and future expectations relating to financial situation, revenues, cash flow, capital spending, number of jobs and credit availability. An Index score of zero reflects that an equal number of small business owners are optimistic and pessimistic about their companies' situation. Results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 600 small business owners nationwide conducted April 10, 2007 through April 17, 2007. The margin of sampling error is + 4 percentage points.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $486 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 6,000 stores and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only bank in the U.S., and one of only two banks worldwide, to have the highest credit rating from both Moody's Investors Service, "Aaa," and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, "AAA." Wells Fargo is one of the largest purchasers of green power in the U.S. according to the EPA and was the first financial institution to establish financial commitments to support environmentally beneficial business opportunities.

Providing financial products and services to more than one and a half million businesses with annual sales up to $20 million in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, Wells Fargo is America's #1 small business lender in total dollar volume according to the most recent Community Reinvestment Act data (2005).

The second largest national Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in dollars, Wells Fargo is an SBA Preferred Lender in 28 states and the District of Columbia, and originated 4,937 loans for $578 million in 2006. Its diverse business services programs provide outreach and education to women, African American, Latino, and Asian business owners about financial services. Since 1995, Wells Fargo has loaned more than $30 billion to women and diverse business owners. For more information, please visit http://www.wellsfargo.com/biz.

About the Gallup Organization

For more than 60 years, the Gallup Organization has been a recognized leader in the measurement and analysis of people's attitudes, opinions and behavior. While best known for the Gallup Poll, founded in 1935, Gallup's current activities consist largely of providing marketing and management research, advisory services and education to the world's largest corporations and institutions.

Website: http://www.wellsfargo.com/

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