Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ecopreneurship can modernize our behaviors towards sustainable development

Ecopreneurship is an emerging concept which need significant importance especially in the post Copenhagen scenario. An entrepreneur is a person who give wings to an idea to fly, launches a venture and bring together money, people and technology. However, it will be a big stupidity to ignore environmental sustainability to reach sustainable development. This is the time when an entrepreneur should turn into ECOPRENEUR- person which not only look for profit but also take into account safe environment to sustain their business in true sense.

This is the time when every one wants to make profit, earn more money and want to compete in the fast race of economic prosperity. This all looks like very traditional approach now where the fast growing companies are becoming so called successful ventures. They ignore importance and care of environment and ignore the poor who always fights with life being in the vicious circle of poverty.

Young unemployed constitute a major part of world population. We need to understand and realize that among those unemployed many will be with great talent but lack access to opportunities. One of the positive aspects of Copenhagen summit was the establishment of green fund and to raise it up to $ 30 billion in three years and $ 100 billion per year by 2020. This is really a great opportunity which need strong political will. While looking at the importance of economic empowerment to compete in the world, it is vital that we promote the concept of ecopreneurship for environmentally sound sustainable businesses. This can particularly help those nations with majority of young population being unemployed including women, and less resilient to climate crisis due to their poverty.

There could be a number of opportunities to boost the concept of ecopreneurship. First important principle should be to target majority of potentially young people and women who can significantly impact countries' GDPs. The ventures may range in ecologically sound interventions in renewable energies, boosting natural regeneration of forest for livelihoods improvements among forest dependent communities, improving adaptive capacities of farmer groups for improved productions using organic ways, small and medium businesses that promote concepts of reuse, recycle and reduce.

Studies show that natural forests are best source of carbon storage than the commercial forest. Forest dependent communities may be encouraged to conserve and protect natural forests while providing them financial incentives. The concepts of natural regeneration with agreed bylaws among forest communities for sustainable use of forest and improving their livelihoods would be a good opportunity.

I have personally visited farmers who are self managing micro hydal power plants to generate electricity, run flour mills and use diverted water to irrigate their agricultural land while turning mono cropping lands into multi-cropping. In northern areas of Pakistan, number of communities have started producing electricity through micro hydal power plants. It is also encouraging businesses for some local households to run shops of electrical appliances and giving opportunities to skilled person who can do necessary repair and maintenance.

Agro-forestry can bring another opportunity for sustainable development among farmer communities. It can improve production, making agricultural land into multi purpose asset (produce crops and fruits together). Farmers can use their lands for more production, storage and sell them into markets and avoiding risks of bad weathers while having access to valuable information about market and weather forecast through use of sms.

Women being majority in population can also be effectively engaged
in green businesses. Women in many areas are engaged in number of small scale businesses such as embroidery, craft making, tailoring etc. More can be done to improve standard of poor women where they not only get economic empowerment for self reliance and decision making but also in a productive way to curb anti environmental practices. A "No more shopping bag" campaign can be a best option where we can reduce use of dirty polythene bags by sensitizing people about its harmful impacts and encouraging poor women to design, prepare and sell environment friendly shopping bags in markets.

Shops of note books with recycles papers may be established and they can be linked with number of government, non
government offices, schools etc to run their green businesses.

This is the world of fashion. Medium and large scale businesses can be promoted by encouraging products (clothing, footwear etc) that account for less carbon foot prints. Famous stars and events can be the best use of turning traditional businesses into green business- just like the example of shirts that are specially designed for the upcoming FIFA world cup 2010 football in South Africa.

I really liked knowing one of the campaign few days before where social organizers encourage households to keep their daily waste/plastic bottles etc at one place and municipality cleaners visit them on daily basis, collect waste and ecopreneurs manage to transport the waste to a recycling company. They use the earned money from the company into payments of social organizers and transportation charges and keep the profit. While the municipality cleaners get nominal charges from each household on monthly basis as their service charges.

There are lots of ideas and lots of potential ecopreneurs. The only thing is to provide them opportunities to access resources. Such opportunities while targeting small group of poor people can significantly impact economic growth and enhance their resilience against climate crisis. The Copenhagen green fund and its proper utilization need lots of advocacy and campaigning. One of the best way to use it properly is to promote Ecopreneurship.


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