Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Fall 2016


Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2016


Copyright © 2016 Carson Schwalbach


This project is being conducted in Lincoln, Nebraska, through a literature review and survey review. World energy consumption is continuing to rise, and global power generation is responsible for more pollution than any other single activity. Virtually all regions of the world have renewable energy sources, and businesses need to become leaders in the renewable energy movement, in order to preserve our environment for generations to come. The importance of our environment should not be overlooked, and the potential benefits of thinking sustainably are quantifiable. Conducting a literature review will help determine if there has been an increase in companies implementing sustainable business practices, as well as establish their opportunities for growth and profit. A small survey of 20 questions, completed by 22 local businesses across Lincoln, will help determine the company’s knowledge and interest levels of implementing a renewable energy project, and what they feel are the main advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Renewable energy is seen as the most important instrument to mitigate climate change and reduce the negative effects of energy production (Richter, 2012). Consumers are rewarding businesses that address environmental concern and are punishing those that don’t (Bang et. al., 2000). Companies that think with an environmental lens are generally more innovative and profitable than its competitors (Etsy and Winston, 11, 2006). 100% of the businesses surveyed believe that renewable energy is reliable and beneficial for the environment. Only 14% of the respondents were very interested in implementing a project, while 82% agree that they feel there are advantages to using renewables over traditional methods. 95% of the participants feel that there is a marketing advantage with renewables, yet 50% do not think that it could draw new customers to their business. Solar energy is the most popular form of renewable energy amongst the respondents.