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TOWARDS GREEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP

By George Choongwa | 2018-08-11

Introduction

The concept of green economics has gained many grounds since the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) was held in June 2012.

Every government and organisation have taken the toll of embracing the concept right from the corporate to the informal sector and today we are talking of green entrepreneurship. This seems to have been the right approach in the sense that an entrepreneur was one of the most environmentally engaged players in an economy. Therefore, issues of climate change, air pollution and land use have become directly involved with entrepreneurship activities. Therefore, the ecosystem has become the core for the concept of ‘green entrepreneurship.’

However, Sharma  and Kushwaha (2015) believes that despite its new agenda, the origin of the concept of green entrepreneurship can be traced but in the late 1970s where the pioneers in the field had begun to employ theterm ‘environmental entrepreneurs’, ‘green entrepreneurs’, ‘ecoentrepreneurs’and also derivate as ‘eco-preneurs’. Therefore, the term ‘green entrepreneurs’ was coined by Terry Clark from Goizueta Business School, Emory University (Menon&Menon, 1997).

Today, humankind’s ecological footprint is such that we are using about 1¼ planets’ worth of resources. This means that we are consuming more than the earth can regenerate.This overshoot is going to restrict there sources available to future generations in all areas. Natural resources, particularly those used to produce energy, will continue to dwindle until they run out completely, jeopardising not only economic development,but also national and internationalpeace.

Defining green entrepreneurship

Gunawan and Fraser (2016) defines green entrepreneurs is defined as “... an entrepreneurs who operate in the green sectors which include someone who seek to transform a sector towards sustainability such as through green innovation (green product design, green processes, and/or green services) that either reduce resources or improve efficiency toward zero waste...” these researcher’s argument is based on the notion given by the OECD (2011) which points towards the concept that by virtue of their nature, green entrepreneurs are individuals who intend to have an environmental focused mindset, which may involve differing characteristics in finding ideas, managing operations, solving problems, and identifying opportunities. Thus, there is a linkage between individual characteristics, the way they operate the business and the environment under consideration.

Subsequently, Mathur and Tandon (2016) argue that the best manner of defining green entrepreneurship is through understanding the entire global trend since it is a a world- wide phenomenon which embodies a new set of knowledge and measures to not only provide solutions to increasing environmental issues, global warming and resource crunch but also sets new standards for capacity building and capacity enhancement. It opens venues for innovation, technology adaptation, employment generation and in the process solve problems of unemployment faced by many developing nations and host of connected issues at local and community level. The understanding of this concept is related to that of being contextual in the sense that through the promotion of green entrepreneurship, an entrepreneur must be mindful of his or her environment in which he or she was operating from and these places differed from context to the other. 

 It is for this reason that Sharma and Kushwaha (2015) points out that the term green entrepreneurs are a combination of two words i.e. environment and entrepreneurship which makes green entrepreneurs  as drivers for  the formulation and implementation of environmental advantage, corporate strategies and creating revenue since in simple terms, an entrepreneur is someone who produces for the market and he is determined and creative leader always looking for opportunities to improve and expand his business and one of the best innovators (Menon and Menon, 1997).

Implications for green entrepreneurship

Sustainable development, as defined for the first time in 1987 is ‘development which meets the needs of the present withoutcompromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (Brundtland Report). The energy sector is closely involved in sustainable development, because energy efficiency and renewable energy are ranked among the options most favourable to the environment, particularly in the fight against climate change.

However, neither sustainable developmentnor the development of the green economy are processes that will move forwardunder their own steam; they require a vehicle,which the promotion of green entrepreneurship could provide. ‘The greeneconomy could be a very important source of jobs and in order to take advantage of this, the employability of young people and women should be improved by providingtargeted, up-to-date training in the new skills required in the green economy and by creating incentive mechanisms to encourage green entrepreneurship.’

Force for new paradigm

Green entrepreneurship is not only important because it provides new opportunities to young entrepreneurs, but also because it may become a powerful force to main stream a new paradigm of responsible business.

Entrepreneurs play a key role as driversof change in market-based economies,as it is they who introduce new products, services and solutions. They play a crucialrole in the ultimate adoption of green business practices by the wider business community, because of the lead they provideto other companies. By demonstrating the economic benefits that come from being greener, ecopreneurs act as a ‘pull’ factor, encouraging other companies to proactively go green, in contrast to the ‘push’ factors

of government regulation and stakeholder or lobby-group pressure.

Enhances corporate image

Going green has clear benefits for companies. First and foremost, empirical studies clearly show that establishing an environmental management system is a competitive factor and that companiespursuing strategies to prevent pollution, reduce waste and increase energy efficiency actually cut costs and increase profits. This is also true for small and medium-sized enterprises. Large andwell-established corporations often associate green innovation primarily with‘green labels’ and corporate social responsibility, intended to avoid risk and enhancepublic reputation. Newcomers to the market,on the other hand, are more likelyto focus on investing in R&D in order tolaunch innovative and more resource-efficient products with high return potential.6

References

Gunawan, J and Fraser, K(2016). Exploring young and green entrepreneurship in indonesia: An introduction. Asian Economic and Social Society.Volume 6, Issue 9, 2016, pp. 185-194

OECD (2011).Measuring green entrepreneurship entrepreneurship at a Glance. OECD Publishing.http://www.oecd.org/science/inno/48350231.pdf.

Sharma N K and KushwahaGS (2015).Emerging Green Market as an Opportunity for Green Entrepreneurs and Sustainable Development in India.Journal of Entrepreneurship & Organization Management. Volume 4 (2)

Mathur, S and Tandon, N(2016). Green Entrepreneurship: The Emerging Paradigm for Sustainable Growth and Development in India-A Study of the Millennials. Indian Journal of Science and Technology, Vol 9(45), pp. 1-11

MenonA, and Menon A (1997) Enviropreneurial Marketing Strategy: The Emergence of Corporate Environmentalism as Market Strategy. Journal of Marketing 61: 51-67.

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