Sustainable Startup: SWOT-Analysis

Sustainable Start-up

My business idea is to open a coffee shop based on ethical methods of preparation and recycling used materials. “Green Coffee” will be a retailer specializing in non-alcoholic beverages (coffee, tea, etc.) and sandwiches from products acquired from local farmers, which will be our source of revenue. The name implies the primary product that will be sold (coffee) and the eco-friendly agenda that will be at the core of the brand (green). Such an approach is not only beneficial in terms of environmental agenda but also aligns with the current trends for mitigating waste and finding ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. “Green Coffee“ is a balance between great environmental and customer care premises, which is why people will be inclined to not only buy our products but also view the coffee shop as a place where the atmosphere is just as good as the food and drinks.

Moreover, the non-alcoholic beverage industry’s current trends show an increase in customers seeking high-quality coffee. The mission is to “promote sustainability through quality products and customer care that will be synonymous to the brand Green Coffee.” The strategic positioning that will allow “Green Coffee” to compete on the market is to prioritize customer value. Creating a friendly atmosphere, responding to clients’ needs, and ensuring each visitor has an excellent experience will make “Green Coffee” stand out among similar businesses.


Before implementing the strategy into action, it is essential to analyze the internal and external environment through the SWOT table. Based on the analysis, it is certain that the strengths are mainly based on the eco-friendly branding of the business. According to researchers, the current customer demand shows an increasing interest in sustainable economy practices (Rodríguez-García, Guijarro-García, & Carrilero-Castillo, 2019).

Such a focus allows for the coffee shop to present itself as environmentally friendly. Moreover, since the raw products will be purchased from local farmers, there will be positive impacts on local development in the field of agriculture. In terms of customers, having a small number of employees contributes to a more familiar and relaxed atmosphere and clients’ satisfaction. Furthermore, operating such a business in close proximity to educational institutions provides students with a platform for socialization and interactions.

Several internal weaknesses may impact the company in the future, including prices higher than in other coffee shops. This is a direct effect of sustainable practices that are more costly. Moreover, installing green energy panels will be a significant investment. Another weakness is the niche customer base consisting of relatively young people (mainly students). An older audience will be harder to attract due to the green labeling that older adults rarely seek out in comparison to millennials. Furthermore, the relatively small location will not allow for a large capacity of customers, which is a direct disadvantage for the overall profit.

One of the main opportunities is the current trend for eco-friendly companies. Consumers are becoming more aware of environmental problems, which is why they are willing to spend more to support such businesses. Due to the fact that green energy will be the primary concern, there is an opportunity for tax cuts and other bonuses provided by the government. Another key opportunity is the overall reputation of the organization. If there are public events, the media coverage will, most likely, be focused on the sustainable aspects of the company, which is always a plus.

It is essential to mention the threats that the coffee shop may encounter in the external environment. First, there is a risk in terms of resources provided by local farmers. Small farms are highly dependent on multiple factors such as the climate, the market, the workforce, etc. There is a threat of losing the sources of raw materials. Moreover, due to the growing attention to ecologically ethical businesses, the market is highly competitive.

Another possible risk is meeting the challenges that correlate with economic instability. The recent events and lockdowns highlighted how the hospitability industry is prone to suffering from damages under such conditions. Last but not least, while there is a trend for a green economy, trends constantly change. It is difficult to predict whether customers will be as interested in sustainable businesses in the future as they are now.


  1. Branding– the business idea does not imply a negative impact on the environment;
  2. Location– the coffee shop will contribute to student’s socializing, interacting, and accessing healthy and eco-friendly options;
  3. Supply chain– the business will support local farmers and contribute to the development of small local agricultural entities;
  4. Customer care– we will be able to provide customers with personalized care due to the relatively small workforce and business.


  1. Pricing – sustainable products are more costly, which can create a negative connotation in terms of customer demand;
  2. Electricity – using sustainable power sources (installing solar panels) is cost-effective long term but requires significant initial investments;
  3. Niche customer base– attracting older customers to purchase more expensive yet sustainable products is a challenge;
  4. Low capacity – small spaces do not allow for the serving of a large number of customers.


  1. Trend – there is a demand for eco-friendly businesses, which is what we can offer.
  2. Governmental encouragement – since we aim to use green energy, we will receive tax cuts from the government and other bonuses;
  3. Emerging need– more people are becoming aware of ecological agenda, which creates a need for more sustainable organizations;
  4. Reputation– having the reputation of a “green” brand can be beneficial in terms of media coverage.


  1. Relatively unstable sources of raw products – depending on several external factors, local farmers may not be able to provide their products;
  2. Competitors– the growing trend for sustainable businesses encourages entrepreneurs to invest in such ideas;
  3. Unstable economy – the recent lockdowns that can occur again are major threats for any hospitability business;
  4. Changing trends – while eco-friendly companies are trendy now, it is difficult to predict future changes in customer demand.


Rodríguez-García, M., Guijarro-García, M., & Carrilero-Castillo, A. (2019). An overview of Ecopreneurship, eco-innovation, and the Ecological Sector. Sustainability, 11(10), 2909. Web.

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