Blue Economy: Sustainability or how to challenge entrepreneurs

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On the very first session, the high level of the keynotes quickly engaged me.

Dr J. Potocnik European, European Comissioner of the Environment, emphasized the fact that innovation is not just about technology but also about our behaviour. I agree: first in the minds of every entrepreneur should be achieving growth that enforces intelligent thinking.

This sentence strucked me and reminded me οn my encounter with Günter Pauli at the HUB Madrid, where he was presenting his last book : the “blue economy”. The blue economy is best illustrated by an example from Günter Pauli: when you drink a cup of coffee, you are only consuming 0.01% of all the product’s supply chain. So, where goes the remaining 99,99% ? To dust, to garbage waste. But what if I told you that one of the wasted components is a very good fertilizer for mushrooms?  It is a missed business opportunity if companies do not think about turning waste into a revenue-producing product. That is what the blue economy is about, rethinking business models to be more sustainable and profitable.  As Günter Pauli says:

The blue economy is a new theory to improve business models by rethinking them in a more sustainable way.

Business can change steps of the supply chain into more resource-efficient processes:

  • Production step : the use of waste to create new businesses recycling them ;
  • Distribution step : promote local production to permit reducing the impact of distribution.

Leafsupply, a producer of cardboard camp beds, is a great example of a company that understands the blue economy. It  supplies the bed for humanitarian causes as well as for corporate clients. It uses local, biodegradable materials and produces the bed completely locally, reducing its carbon and resource footprint.

One may ask how a company might change to join the blue economy style of thinking.  Is it something from within? Or does a company need to perceive a political “threat” to change its ways? Do we need an agency like the European Environment Agency led by Doc. J. McGlade, which seeks to implement a new state account to control national footprint, to lead companies to a more sustainable future? Or does too much regulation slow company innovation? It’s  my opinion that in some way, such measures from public agencies would help – check out the post on her.

So, why is the blue economy relevant? It’s not just a new theory, it’s also a useful internet platform for sharing ideas. It inspires many entrepreneurs to try to meet new challenges. It encourages them to develop innovative business models. And I think that it’s a direct way to become more respectful to the planet.


2 thoughts on “Blue Economy: Sustainability or how to challenge entrepreneurs

  1. This is a very interesting topic indeed. I suppose my question is how you shift the mindset within large corporations towards a blue economy? Western companies have been flocking to developing countries to take advantage of cheap labour rates in order to improve their competitiveness and profitability….and I can’t help but wonder whether they are also consciously taking advantage of the relaxed environmental laws in these countries as well. And while entrepreneurs may be very sensitive to the blue economy, how do we address the present problem posed by these multinationals?

    • It’s of course a relevant question, and we could ask how this new theory can touch well-established companies . One part of the reflection could be led on changing consumer’s behaviour. Giving him the choice to choose sustainable products. Education and information are a big part of it. Some companies claim themselves as green, but they are just externalising their polluting activities. So transparency should be needed from the companies too.
      I think the consumer’s behaviour can do the difference toward urging multinational seeking for sustainibility (a bit idealistic no 😉 ?)

      Thanks for the comment!

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