In developed countries, the concept of corporate social responsibility of business came into scientific and sociopolitical use. Nevertheless, the last few years saw the birth of a principally new phenomenon at the interface of the country’s ecological and economic systems, which is a phenomenon of ecological entrepreneurship.
Ecological entrepreneurship is associated with an activity, which is conducted to minimising risks of the influence on all components of the environment with due regard to ecological preferences in the system of economic relations, and which is aimed at systematic gaining of profits on efficient use of property, natural and secondary resources, sale of goods, and performance of work and services. Criteria for reference of entrepreneurial structures to ecological entrepreneurship can be associated with a continuous improvement in the quality of the environment as a result of ecological entrepreneurial functioning; a dominant (or predominant) role of ecological utility in general utility of the results of ecological 64 entrepreneurial performance; a dominant (or predominant) rate of ecological innovations.
Jon Koomey, author of the 2013 book entitled “Cold Cash, Cool Planet: Advice for Ecological Entrepreneurs,” argues, “Entrepreneurship is the key to creating this future.” Koomey is an energy and policy finance expert and holds an M.S. and Ph.D. from the Energy and Research Group at UC Berkeley. “Scornful of the phrase ‘it can’t be done,’” he argues that ecological entrepreneurs uproot carbon-intensive practices through innovation.
The world’s environmental regimes, from local to global, have deep roots in “Ecological Entrepreneurship”. To preserve a livable blue planet the world will need ever more of it.
In order to achieve the emission reductions necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change, we must fundamentally change current carbon-intensive processes. Here, the role of entrepreneurship is to create products that “make people happy to scrap existing (carbon intensive) capital” by making products that are simply better than what they replace. For example, Patrick Sherwin of GoSun Stove has created a low-energy solar-powered stove that has the ability to replace carbon-based stoves that release greenhouse gases.
Over the past 50 years, ecological entrepreneurship has evolved. It has raised awareness, and inspired frameworks for environmental stewardship and “mainstreaming” of ecologically sustainable approaches, in all sectors of the economy, with holistic consideration of product life cycles, and of public health. To achieve specific goals, ecological entrepreneurs will deploy governance, technical, social, and communication tools – whatever it takes, “360 degrees”, in a cross-disciplinary manner. Ecological entrepreneurs take on a great variety of roles:
- As inventors and pioneers of “green” technical, policy, and business solutions: This has now become the fastest-growing field with annual progress in the development of energy-saving, smart environmental solutions. Other ecological entrepreneurs pioneered culturally adapted “parks & people” solutions that harmonised nature protection and local community needs. Others found ways to influence consumer awareness and attitudes.
- As communicators ecological entrepreneurs make smart use of social web and media systems: Well aware that environmental goals can best be achieved with broad public support, they reach out to inform, educate, engage, and influence consumer attitudes. They articulate and network citizen demands. They rate and rank public election candidates in terms of their sustainability objectives and legislative track record. They produce films that engage young people and broaden public understanding of issues.
- As science-based forecasters ecological entrepreneurs address especially climate change and biodiversity loss: Rather than waiting for ultimate scientific proof, they promote the “precautionary principle”. Nicholas Stern convincingly argued in his famous 2007 analysis of the Economics of Climate Change that corrective action is needed ahead of both, ultimate proof and a point of no return.
An Era of Ecological Business Entrepreneurship
En route to a “Green Economy”, ecological business entrepreneurship now moves centre stage. It takes new kinds of environmental entrepreneurship to increase the speed of uptake of environment-friendly technical, social and economic innovations. Every year new ideas and new products are developed. They must gain more momentum. It still takes too many years to achieve market entry, too many years to build new companies, and too many years before new, updated green technology curricula are offered at engineering, architectural, and professionalising schools. Ecological entrepreneurship deals with technical challenges and business opportunities. It relates to the environmental efficiency of housing, to material efficiency, “clean technology” industrial production, and water and waste management in an urbanised world. It relates to the ways in which we organise transport, and efficiently use and sustainably generate energy. And it relates to how we feed ourselves with due attention to soil, water, and genetic resources, and avoiding toxic contamination. We have entered a science-knowledge- and business-based stage in ecological entrepreneurship. Past institutional and attitudinal achievements in the environmental field need to be matched by products and markets for a greener planet, for more climate care, and for healthier living conditions, with safe water and cleaner air. Combining a sense of urgency and business acumen, ecological entrepreneurs can continue to make a difference