During the last couple of month we RESD Students had an interesting time while following our course in Green Strategy and Sustainable Innovation. In this course we talked a lot about generic stuff like “What is sustainability for a company?!”, and we were surprised that it is not so easy to answer this question. In fact, we learned that in todays world it is difficult to follow a business paradigm that is different from the established way of doing business.
The slogan the business of business is business seems outdated nowadays, because if the performance of a company gets measured only by its financial terms a lot of things get missed on the way. A company is a lot more than only shareholders that want big dividends for their trust and CEOs doing literally anything to reach this goal; all the other stakeholders have not such an importance. Environment, personell, customers, do not get a treatment like they should in a society where money rules them all.
What we learned in this course is that there exist some people out there that are working hard on new business paradigms that could break the supremacy of shareholder primacy and short-termism. Here I will provide you the most important ones so you can check them out!
- The Circular Economy (link), an economy without waste or pollution
- Sharing Economy (link) based on collaborative consumption
- The Purpose and Gift economy
- B-Corps and Social Business
- The Economy for the common good (link)
Give em a look, it will be worth your time!
If you enjoy TED Talks as much as I do then you will certainly enjoy the following speech by Paul Gilding, a famous author (The Great Disruption) and consultant in the field of sustainability and resources.
Although this TED is from 2012 it is still accurate today, when he states that human mankind uses Earths resources in a way that is not sustainable citing the outcomes from the resources of the Global Footprint Network, according to whom 1.5 Earths would be needed to sustain our current economy and will grow even more over the next decades. The Australian former executive director of Greenpeace International claims that it is not possible that ongoing growth will lead to a disruptions all over the world, and that only a big crisis can change the actual situation. Unfortunately his speech is quite general and gives not clear answers on the question “how could humanity grow up and leave this area of no limits?”.
Personally I do not agree with Gilding on most of his statements because I think that he sees a lot of things in a very negative way (e.g. when he talks about the carbon bubble bursting or upcoming wars). What also bothered me while watching his speech was the necessity of a crisis from here earth and society should rise (somehow) like a phoenix from the ashes.
I suggest you to watch the TED and let me know what you think about this thoughts of impact people like Gilding think on our planets future!
In the past decades we explored a fascinating trend regarding innovation and technology. In fact, technologic innovations changed our planet from the very beginning of humankind, and accelerated with an unbelievable speed in the last 100 years. In some cases technology helped to solve some critical environmental problems (e.g. substitutes for damaging CFC). In the next paragraphs I introduce to you some interesting inventions that could change the world in a quite impactful way.
Transparent solar cells
Ubiquitous Energy is the name of a young startup in California, and what they do sounds like science fiction. They invented “solar glass”, a mix between glass and solar cells, that are transparent but yet energy producing. Its application seems immediate, entire buildings could produce their own clean energy.
The main problem with batteries is that they are very difficult to recycle. But researchers from Sweden and the US found the solution: batteries made out of wood. Unfortunately mass production is still too expensive, but they plan to be on the market in 5 years with this new innovative product.
Electric cars charged with induction
One of my favourite future technologies are electric cars. But there are still some problems with it, for example the long charging times. But the UK Transport Research Laboratory found the solution for this problem, and it seems to good to be true. They plan to build streets where cars get their energy just while driving. This sounds crazy but it could be the solution for urban traffic.
Hydrogen fuel cells
It is years that hydrogen fuel cells have been invented, but there are still no cars that work with this technology on the market. This will change in the very near future. Toyota and Hyundai, both are releasing their innovative hydrogen cars.
Source: The Guardian