Researchers across Europe are beginning a project to investigate why sustainable start-up businesses are created and whether they can be a success.
More consumers than ever are starting small sustainable businesses ranging from green electricity companies, food waste start-ups to car sharing schemes.
And researchers will look into how and why people are taking the step and whether their businesses become a success.
Fourteen European research institutes coordinated by Technische Universität München in Germany will be investigating this trend to see what potential it holds for a sustainable economy.
They will also be using some of the €4.7 million (£3.9 million) European Union funding to see how established companies engage end users in the development of sustainable products.
It will also look at how new technologies such as 3D printers can transform economies to develop sustainable prototypes.
TUM chair of corporate sustainability Professor Frank-Martin Belz said: “These people aren’t looking to politicians or NGOs to solve social and ecological problems. They want to do something themselves and see business as an effective tool for solving these problems.
“Others simply recognise the ever-rising demand for sustainable lifestyle choices and make a conscious move to fill a market gap while they can.”