Principles of ecopreneurship

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Principles of Ecopreneurship help guide sustainable business leaders and environmental entrepreneurs or "ecopreneurs".

Energy and resource use efficiency and maximization[edit]

As described by Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute,

“In nature, one-way linear flows do not long survive. Nor, by extension, can they long survive in the human economy that is a part of the earth's ecosystem. The challenge is to redesign the materials economy so that it is compatible with the ecosystem.”[1]

By minimizing waste production and maximizing reuse of waste streams, sustainable business can significantly increase profits. Key aspects to measure include solid waste, liquid waste, wastewater, air pollution, energy use, carbon emissions resulting from reduced transportation, hazardous chemical use, excess product supply, industrial waste as enterprise raw material, and the sustainability of raw materials (ability to consistently source raw material without reducing raw material supply or negatively impacting ecosystem).

Ecosystem services[edit]

Most natural resources are valued due to their economic importance. The ecosystem provides additional services that do not traditionally have monetary value in the economy and therefore are not considered in business finances but are indispensable to economies, such as mitigation of droughts and floods, soil generation, and waste detoxification and breakdown. In recent years economists have begun to recognize and explore the value of nature’s services, as more and more frequently businesses and economies are losing income and growth potential due to environmental degradation. This has resulted in the development of markets for carbon, biodiversity, and water. These marketplaces provide opportunity for businesses to gain income by protecting local resources and preventing environmental damage.

Natural Step[edit]

According to the Natural Step framework, a sustainable society must:

  1. not systematically subject nature's functions and diversity to increasing concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth's crust.
  2. not systematically subject nature's functions and diversity to increasing concentrations of substances produced by society.
  3. not systematically impoverish nature's functions and diversity by physical displacement, over-harvesting, or other forms of ecosystem manipulation.
  4. not subject people to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their needs.

Eco-efficiency and eco-effectiveness[edit]

Eco-efficiency was initially coined by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development to describe methods of decreasing waste while increasing productivity. William McDonough’s design firm, MBDC, takes that a step further to reflect cradle-to-cradle thinking of waste equaling food. Under this model, eco-effectiveness refers to “industrial systems that emulate the healthy abundance of nature” so that the waste of the production process and the product itself can be the raw materials of a new product or service.

Literature[edit]

  • Cohen, B.; Winn, M. I. (2007): Market imperfections, opportunity and sustainable entrepreneurship. J. Bus. Venturing, 22, 29–49
  • Hockerts, K.; Wüstenhagen, R. (2010): Greening Goliaths versus Emerging Davids – Theorizing about the Role of Incumbents and New Entrants in Sustainable Entrepreneurship. In: Journal of Business Venturing (25), Nr. 5, S. 481–492
  • Isaak, R. (1999): Green Logic: Ecopreneurship, theory and ethics. West Hartford: Kumarian
  • Larson, A. L. (2000): Sustainable Innovation through an Entrepreneurship Lens. Business Strategy and the Environment, 9, 304–317
  • Petersen, H. (2006): Ecopreneurship and Competitive Strategies. Striving for Market Leadership by Promoting Sustainability, in: Schaltegger, S. and Wagner M. (Hrsg.): Managing the Business Case for Sustainability. The Integration of Social, Environmental and Economic Performance. Sheffield: Greenleaf, 398–411
  • Schaltegger, S.; Petersen, H. (2001): Ecopreneurship. Concept and Typology. Lueneburg/Lucerne: CSM/Rio Managementforum
  • Schaltegger, S. and Wagner, M. (2008): Types of Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Conditions for Sustainability Innovation, in: Wüstenhagen, J.; Hamschmidt, S.; Sharma, S. & Starik, M. (Eds.): Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Schaltegger, S. and Wagner, M. (2011): Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Innovation. Categories and Interactions, Business Strategy and the Environment, Vol. 20, No. 4, 222–237
  • Stefanescu, D.; Herman, E.; Weissbach, H.-J. u.a. (2009): Sustainable Development and Business Opportunities, Targu-Mures / Kosice, ISBN 9788055301815
  • Teppo, T.; Wüstenhagen, R. (2009): Why Corporate Venture Capital Funds Fail – Evidence from the European Energy Industry. In: World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sust. Development 5), Nr. 4, S. 353–375
  • Wüstenhagen, R. (2011): Handbook of Research on Energy Entrepreneurship (mit Wuebker, R. J.). Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK / Lyme, US

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute