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Struggling with controlling costs on an everyday basis, most small businesses assume they can’t afford to establish eco-friendly and sustainable practices. Now three companies that provide software tools to help clients go green are joining forces to make the process easier and more economical for even the smallest and youngest of enterprises.

Village Green Global offers carbon accounting software called SMARTweb (pictured above); Greenopia analyzes the sustainability of lifestyle products and services; and Green Globe International administers green certification and benchmarking programs. Together, they plan to launch an end-to-end solution for small businesses that want to be environmentally responsible but don’t know where to start.

According to a Gallup poll taken last year, the weak economy has discouraged small business owners from taking green steps. Only about 27 percent said they would absorb extra costs to be more eco-friendly. That said, 73 percent responded that they would go green to boost their public image, 69 percent said it would attract more customers and increase revenue, and 59 percent recognized that it would eventually reduce their costs.

But there are other, lesser-known reasons why small businesses should take sustainable practices into consideration: tax deductions, loans and grants available through state and even local government initiatives, and green building incentives for construction projects like fee waivers and fast-tracked permitting. The joint venture announced today plans to help its customers take advantage of these perks.

Starting in mid-July, Village Green will be offering its SMARTweb software to Greenopia subscribers at a discounted rate. In addition to tracking enterprises’ environmental footprints, the tool makes recommendations for products and strategies that can up sustainability and shave energy costs. Village Green says the software can create savings up to 15 percent.

So far, SMARTweb — able to calculate the footprints of 30,000 devices — has been used to complete 6,000 environmental audits.

Earlier this month, Village Green signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Green Globe International to use the Green Globe Baseline Standard in its software. That way clients that comply with SMARTweb suggestions can be sure they are hitting an important certification standard.

Now when Greenopia, which brings 25,000 subscribers to the table, assesses environmental factors for small businesses, it can also provide options for how they can act on the findings, and directly demonstrate how much money they stand to make by implementing changes — like adding insulation, caulking windows, switching vendors, or taking billing digital.

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