In 1968 the Apollo 8 left Earth’s orbit on course for the moon. On this journey astronaut William Anders snapped a photo that would be considered by Life Magazine as “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.” Titled, “Earthrise”, the photo illustrates the moon’s horizon with a brilliantly lit blue Earth set against the blank backdrop of space in the distance. The unique perspective granted by the picture is credited by some to be the primary catalyst of the environmental movement. Whether this is the case or not, there is no doubt that consideration given to the environment has grown exponentially since this period and along with it an industry is thriving.
Today the environmental industry, just like many others, has become increasingly specialized with entrepreneurs finding unique but growing markets. With the increased specialization comes an increased need for an insurance policy to cover their unique risks. The following examples below of firms with niche markets and how they are achieving rapid growth.
· An upstate New York company that specializes in underground storage tank removal has been in increasingly high demand for environmental remediation services. The firm has targeted a specific market which focuses on retrofitting and aiding in the expansion of convenience stores in the area. Demand is growing because many stores have found that they are behind on government regulatory compliance and need to be brought current in order to avoid incurring fines or interrupting business. Growth in this specific market has been so great that the company has once again needed to expand to meet the needs of its clients.
· An environmental firm based in Cincinnati who is a leading global provider of air pollution control technology and industrial ventilation systems is witnessing some amazing results. In the first few weeks of April alone they have received orders totaling $4.3 million. Industries seeking the services and products for the recent orders include refining, petro-chemical, power, aluminum, steel, automotive, chemical and large industrial processes. Although the majority of clients are U.S. based, the company has also been contracted by Canadian and Chinese firms seeking their services. Growth in the U.S. has been core to the success of environmental firms, but many will probably begin to increase their focus to emerging nations as a significant source of revenue growth.
· Alternative energy solutions are starting to gain traction as a cost effective source of power because of advancing technologies. Installation of solar panels in the New England area is booming as a result of the increasing costs of fossil fuels. A Massachusetts area firm has seen the amount of annual solar panel installations grow from 53 in 2003 to 982 in 2011. The driving force for going solar is money. One customer cited that three months after installing the panels they were producing more electricity than needed for personal use and had started to bank credits with their power company for running a surplus. As more consumers realize that there are potential cost savings to going green, the market for alternative energy specialists will only continue to grow.
Ignoring the environmental services sector is turning a blind eye to an industry poised for continued growth. Technology is constantly changing and as current technology becomes obsolete new technology and services will be provided to replace it. Ultimately, the drive behind environmental movement is to create sustainability. The picture taken from the Apollo 8 had such a profound impact because it allowed viewers to see that the Earth is not a body with infinite resources. Instead, it is a shared planet with finite resources that need to be preserved.
With a booming industry comes a changing industry and risk. Schinnerer has the knowledge and expertise of the environmental industry to help fit your clients with the correct policy. For more information and risk management resources visit our sit, www.schinnerer.com/environmental.
Written by, Collin Hughes, Assistant Account Executive, Environmental Program.