Sustainability and Green Economics

Green Capitalism

Green capitalism appears paradoxical. The notion of ‘Green’ conjures images of frugal living, minimizing our environmental footprint and the propagation of nature, while capitalism as we know it, is associated with money (first and foremost), with mass consumption, rapid development and paranoid competition as its brainchildren. The latter perception is probably sadly misguided; nonetheless the opportunity (and challenge) in the green revolution is to model guilt-free, voguish lifestyles and worldly goals that fuel the spirit of capitalism yet cunningly incentivize Green technologies and business models. Given the way we live our lives today; that our raison d’être is to achieve higher education, pursue specialist careers and to amass immense personal wealth (and that the sunshine that we don’t get to enjoy five days a week isn’t something we should covet), we are now at the brink of the opportunity of our lifetime: Green Capitalism. The order of the day is to find the longest lasting battery for the fastest electric car manufactured from bio-degradable materials and to make a pile of dough along the way. And this is working fine for us, since it is the only way we know how to live our lives: make money off every opportunity, even off the mother of all catastrophes: the planet’s. In more practical terms this means finding opportunity in:

Commoditizing technologies for clean energy production

Right now the emphasis is on the race to producing alternative energy sources whose production costs can compete with that of fossil fuels. With mass production and further research and development, it’s a matter of a few years before this happens. But the race is on.

Sustainable food production

Food production done at the expense of biodiversity, such as the tearing down of rainforests, is hardly a sustainable model at all. Novel ways of farming – such as urban agriculture, combined with bioengineering for better yields and resilience, can provide an ideal win-win-win situation of fresher, healthier foods to the customer(since proximity to the source is close), lower distribution cost (monetary & environmental) for the producer, and the environment (biodiversity preserved)

Smart business models

This means finding opportunity in non-traditional business models that improve the efficiency, combine, or eliminate components of the product life cycle – from raw material procurement, production, distribution, consumption and disposal. This satisfies the economic principle of maintaining scarcity – by ‘novel’ business models – while at the same lowering overall cost.