Green Entrepreneurship

Tomás Alberto Ávila 07/15/09 In the old economic model profit was related to how much money you had available. Making more profit has been considered the objective of every good business. It also has very much been a cutthroat economy where the more economically advantaged is able to take advantage of those less financially capable. Essentially this has been a model where love of money dominated and people and the environment were considered viable options for exploitation to earn a profit. In the old economy profit has often been made by letting other people pay the real costs of doing business. It’s a cutthroat model where the motto was everyone for themselves! The notion of a green economy a rapidly growing billion dollar sector that includes renewable energy sources, organic produce and products, green buildings, alternative fuel vehicles, and more1 activity by companies and customers in the form of products, services, and business models that promote economic growth, reduced environmental impacts, and improved social well being gathered steam in 2008. One key driver: the U.S. presidential campaign, the first ever where both major-party candidates discussed accelerating investments in alternative energy, electric vehicles, a “smart” electric grid, and, not insignificantly, the 40 million green jobs by 2030 these industries would create. The conversation accelerated during the fall, as the economy tanked and unemployment rose. Suddenly, the green economy was seen as a pathway out of economic gloom. Green building is on the rise, spurring new technologies that save energy and money while creating more healthful workplaces. There is a green race taking place in the automobile industry, with every major manufacturer planning to introduce electric vehicles. The leading consumer product makers and retailers are starting to rigorously assess the environmental impact of their products using sophisticated metrics, sending signals up the supply chain that tomorrow’s products will need to hew to higher levels of environmental responsibility. Of course, all this is taking place during a time of staggering turbulence in the economy, and at the dawn of a new political era in the United States, the combination of which is causing both uncertainty and excitement over the notion of a green economy as a means of national economic and environmental security. We stand on the cusp of a potential explosion of new ideas, inventions, and initiatives, but face great questions about whether there will be sufficient resources to bring them to fruition. At the end of the day, the questions remain: Are we moving far enough, fast enough? Does the ever-growing green activity in the business world represent a true transformation, one capable of adequately addressing pressing issues like climate change, air quality, the loss of species, and the looming water crisis? Or is it merely nibbling at the edges of the problems? Reasonable minds can justifiably argue both sides.

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Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. ellabakercenter.org/page.php

Tomás Alberto Ávila

Green Entrepreneurship

The biggest business opportunities of the 21st century are for green businesses solving environmental challenges such as climate change. The opportunities are as large as the challenges, and innovative entrepreneurs taking on the challenges are moving green from the fringes to Wall Street, Main Street and everywhere in between. With the Green Economy estimated to be over 200 billion2 in the United States in 2005 and growing globally, going green is both good for the environment and smart business move. Going green means different things to different people, but it generally means reducing pollution, conserving resources and ecosystems; being energy efficient and reducing climate change. For many people, being green also means being aware of social issues such as fair trade and labor practices. Green businesses ensure that the natural system on which our lives and economies rely will be around for the long term, and provide an environmentally sustainable world with profitable and rewarding ventures. Sustainable living meets our present needs without compromising the needs of future generations. The rapid growth of green business is seen in many fields such as the growth of the sale of organic food 15-21 percent a year for more than a decade3. Businesses that develop new technology that spans a broad range of products, services, and processes that lower performance costs, reduce or eliminate negative ecological impact, and improve the productive and responsible use of natural resources4. To fight climate change, reduce pollution and lower our dependence on oil, businesses have increased the use of United States wind power capacity 45% in 20075. Entrepreneurs-someone who undertakes the creation of an enterprise or business at his or her own financial risk that has the chance of success and/or profit, are transforming the buildings where we live and work to be safer and more efficient as part of the booming green building movement, which will be expanding with the recent passage of The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 that calls for a 30 percent reduction in Energy use relative to a comparable building constructed in compliance with baseline code. The bill also mandates that each state or local Administrator of a REEP program shall seek to ensure that sufficient qualified entities are available to support retrofit activities so that building owners have a competitive choice among qualified Auditors, Raters, Contractors and providers of services related to retrofit6. In general, entrepreneurs are individuals who conceive new business opportunities and who take on the risks required to convert those ideas into reality. They are people who are able to identify new commercial ventures (which often involves a willingness to ‘look outside the box’ and examine issues in fundamentally different ways from more conventional approaches), incubate ideas and champion their adoption, assemble the resources needed to bring the idea to commercial reality (such as money, people and technologies) and, finally, to launch and grow
Natural Marketing Institute, 2006 Organic Trade Association’s 2006 Manufacturers Survey 4 Cleantech Group, LLC. http://cleantechnetwork.com/index.cfm?pageSRC=CleantechDefined 5 American Wind Energy Association, AWEA 2007 Market Report, www.awea.org 6 H.R.2454 An act to create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming and transition a clean energy economy, (pg. 355)
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the business venture. In other words, entrepreneurship arises when enterprising individuals identify an unsolved problem, or an unmet need or want, which they then proceed to satisfy. In the process, they transform the existing status quo into a future opportunity and turn ideas into a commercial reality. Entrepreneurs seek to bring about change and new opportunities, both for themselves and for the communities they belong to. They are often agents of what one of the early researchers in the field, Schumpeter (1934), labeled as ‘creative destruction’: old ways of doing things are transformed, or overtaken, when enterprising individuals wreak change in business systems. In this way, entrepreneurs often play an important role as engines of change in market based economies, because they are responsible for introducing innovation, adaptation and new ideas types of economic circumstances. Never before has there been such a broad range of opportunities for entrepreneurs with almost any background to do well in business and help the environment at the same time. People around the globe are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work on solutions for habitat loss, air pollution, declining oil supplies, water pollution and climate change. According to the Natural Marketing Institute, an estimated 30% of the United States adult population are consider LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) and are spending money in ways consistent with the belief in the need for a greener world. LOHAS7 (overall) Personal health Eco-Tourism Alternative Energy Alternative Vehicles Green Building Natural Lifestyles $209 billion $118 billion $24.2 billion $400 billion $6.1 billion $49.7 billion $10.6 billion

Every day more people are changing to more efficient light bulbs, buying more fuel efficient cars, and doing whatever else they can in their daily lives to make a difference. Going Green is not just a fad or a trend but a lasting change in how we live and do business. Going Green also may be the best way to protect against the loss of business that may result from a globalized economy and other economic challenges as we have learned from the present economic crises we are experiencing, causing the demise of the automobile industry an iconic employer for over one hundred years. Former bastions of industrial strength The United States and Europe are giving way to new industrialized powers such as China and India and this shift has eliminated or transferred millions of jobs from the Unites States to other parts of the world.
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Source: Natural Marketing Institute http://www.nmisolutions.org

Tomás Alberto Ávila

Green Entrepreneurship

Developing Green technologies and companies helps develop economies offset their diminishing roll in old industries and going green makes companies more efficient and more competitive in a slow economy. According to Jonathan G. Dorn, Staff Researcher, Earth Policy Institute “Just as the 19th century was powered by coal and the 20th century by oil, the 21st century will be powered by the sun, the wind and the renewable energy from within the earth.” Green entrepreneurs have many advantages in the rapidly growing green economy, with small innovative firms they don’t have to worry about changing their mindset or about loosing investment in old technologies; instead new business owners start with a clean slate to build profitable and environmentally sound companies from the ground up. They are proving to be potent catalysts for greening the rest of the economy8. Being entrepreneurial is more than staring a business. It’s about taking charge and blazing a path forward, and this can happen anywhere, employees work inside businesses, non-profits and government as entrepreneurs taking risk and innovating to create change. Mark Kravatz, Director, Sustainable Business Development at The Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living is an example of such individual, who has carved his own path in the Green industry in Rhode Island through his passion for a sustainable world and his desire to spread the fledging green economy to segments of Rhode Island that would otherwise not been included. The evolution of the modern economy keeps forcing us o be entrepreneurial in our daily work, in order to remain significant in a more competitive job market. Globalization, outsourcing, telecommuting, the internet and the flattening of corporate hierarchies have hastened the evolution of the employee of the 1950s into the one man mobile work force of today. We can’t no longer rest in our laurels, while slowly rising up the career ladder based on our seniority of service. Green Entrepreneurial individuals in government, business and non profits are engineering sustainability which according to the most widely accepted definition of sustainability, a sustainable business has objectives on three different fronts: the environment, the economy, and social capital, from the inside out, but it doesn’t stop there as the evolution of work blurs the line and the green wave the individual starts in his or her company may carry him or her to start their own business. Government stands smack in the middle of the green wave, creating laws such as the United States House of Representatives passage of bill H.R.2454 an act to creates clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming and transition a clean energy economy, and calls for a 30 percent reduction in Energy use relative to a comparable building constructed in compliance with baseline code.

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Croston, Glenn 75 Green Businesses You Can Start to Make Money and Make A difference

Rhode Island's governor signed a law that requires the state's largest electric utility to buy power from renewable energy producers, a move intended to smooth the way for what could be the first offshore wind farm in the United States. The legislation requires National Grid Plc (NG.L) (NGG.N) to make long-term contracts to buy 90 megawatts of renewable power, a step that Governor Donald Carcieri says should help Deepwater Wind to secure the $1.5 billion in funding it expects to need for two offshore projects. The dynamic upswing in green business has also led to an upswing in the demand for innovative solutions that Green entrepreneurs can use in their businesses. Opportunities for entrepreneurial individuals to do right and do well are unlimited in the green economy. A rapidly growing billion--dollar sector that includes renewable energy sources, organic produce and products, green buildings, alternative fuel vehicles, and more.

In conclusion this is an exciting area to be involved in, at its best; entrepreneurship is about harnessing the enthusiasm, initiative and creative energy of individuals. It is now time to pay more attention to the role that entrepreneurs can play in the move to a more sustainable economic and commercial system. When this dynamism is applied to developing business solutions that help move enterprise along more sustainable ways, then the results have the potential to be truly fascinating and rewarding.

Tomás Alberto Ávila

Green Entrepreneurship

References Curtin, Michael, The Essence of Ecopreneurship, GMI Theme Issue: Environmental Entrepreneurship University of Technology, Australia City of Providence, Green Print Providence H.R.2454 An act to create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy. H 7381 Residential Renewable Energy System Tax Credit IREM & CCIM, The Institute Legislative Staff, Economic Stimulus Package & Treasury Department’s Financial Stability Plan. Rhode Island Green Building Council, Strategic Plan Approved Dec. 4, 2008 Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, Renewable Energy Fund S 0111 LONG-TERM CONTRACTING STANDARD FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY S 2594 Renewable Energy Standard The Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living, www.apeiron.org The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering jobs, business and investment across America U.S. Conference of Mayors Announces 2009 Green Jobs Training Initiative Grant Winners United Nation, Environment Program, A Global Green New Deal: Towards A Green Economy University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) Testimony before House Committee on Education and Labor Hearing on “Building an Economic Recovery Package: Creating and Preserving Jobs in America” October 24, 2008 Los Angeles Trade -Technical College Green Community College Summit: Green Workforce Development, The Role of Community Colleges Transition to Green: Leading the way to a healthy environment, a green economy and a sustainable future. Environmental Transition Recommendations for the Obama-Biden Team. Natural Marketing Institute, From Haight Ashbury to Today’s Boardroom: Baby Boomers’ Impact on the Green Movement Nielsen, WINNING AT GREEN: Exploring the Potential for Green Innovation using the Nielsen BASES System and NMI’s LOHAS Segmentation Model New York Times, Preparing for a Flood of Energy Efficiency Spending, February 26, 2009 University of Wisconsin–Madison Center on Wisconsin Strategy, Greener Pathways: Jobs and Workforce Development in the Clean energy economy Regional Economic Development Institute, The Strategic Opportunity to Build a Green Workforce In Los Angeles, 2009 Deloitte Review, The Responsible and Sustainable Board, 2009 National Association of REALTORS, Climate Change Policy The Green Resource Council of the National Association of REALTORS, Green Designation Greener World Media, Inc. State of Green Business 2009

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