In today’s fast-paced world, the concept of waste has undergone a profound transformation, thanks to the Green Entrepreneurs and the growing influence of the Green Economy. As the environmental challenges of our time become increasingly apparent, innovative thinkers and visionary businesses are redefining waste as an opportunity rather than a problem. This paradigm shift has given rise to the Circular economy, a transformative approach that not only minimizes waste but also creates value from what was once considered disposable.
The Circular Economy represents a departure from the linear “take-make-dispose” model of production and consumption that has characterized much of our industrial history. Instead, it promotes a holistic and sustainable approach in which products and materials are designed, sourced, produced, and used with an emphasis on longevity and regeneration. At its core, the Circular Economy seeks to reduce waste by keeping resources in use for as long as possible, extracting maximum value from them, and then recovering and regenerating materials at the end of their life cycle.
In this blog, we will delve into the world of Green Entrepreneurs, explore the dynamics of the Green Economy, and uncover the transformative potential of the Circular Economy. We will also investigate how tracking waste through the Circular Economy can redefine our understanding of waste itself, creating new opportunities for businesses, individuals, and communities. Join us on this journey to discover how the Circular Economy is not only redefining waste but also reshaping our future towards a more sustainable and prosperous world.
Green Entrepreneurs are specifically looking for, and identifying opportunities to, create green solutions, as part of an inclusive Green and Circular Economy. Using their entrepreneurial competencies, green entrepreneurs recognize the significant problems around them and see these as opportunities to create green solutions to ensure that the environment, its ecosystems and the people in these spaces are protected. Significant problems can be:
- Pollution and Emissions;
- Energy and Resources;
- Protect biodiversity;
- Reduce inequalities for all by transforming lives;
In summary, being a green and digital entrepreneur is when the entrepreneur uses digital technology and skills to create a green solution, as a product and/or service.
A Green Economy is defined as “low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive”. In a Green Economy, growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the lossof biodiversity and ecosystem services.
UNEP, 2023 UN Environment Program
As per the latest updates from the Green Economy Coalition, there are 5 main principals of what an inclusive, green and fair economy should look like:
- Wellbeing it enables all people to create and enjoy prosperity. It focuses on growing wealth to support wellbeing.
- Justice it promotes equity in and between generations and especially supports women’s empowerment.
- Planetary Boundaries it safeguards, restores and invests in nature.
- Efficiency and Sufficiency, it is geared to support sustainable production and consumption.
- Good Governance it is evidence-based and guided by integrated, accountable and resilient institutions.
A green economy is socially inclusive and has the power to reduce inequalities, because of the way placing solutions for the environment sits at the center of economic activity and also increases the wellbeing, lives and livelihoods of people through jobs and prosperity.
The Circular Economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. Simple, the Circular Economy is one in which the overall goal is to stop waste being produced to start with.
The transition to an inclusive green and circular economy means tackling problems in the sectors which are the biggest emitters of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and users of energy and natural resources. Do you know which are the 5 sectors that create the most GHG emissions globally?
That also means that these sectors have the most potential to cut GHG emissions through the use of digital technologies, presenting opportunities for digital green entrepreneurs. Through digital solutions we can mitigate the impact of climate change during the supply chains as products and services are produced, delivered, used and disposed of. Digital solutions are helping us to adapt during this process and they also can help us to monitor the impact.
You can check some examples of high-level digital solutions for the biggest emitting sectors:
- Renewable energy;
- Electric vehicles;
- Sustainable agriculture;
- Carbon capture;
Tracking Waste Trough Circular Economy
We know that the production of any product or service generates waste and/or e-waste. How we can contribute to sustainability? We need to reduce the impact of our business by reducing waste, emissions, energy and recourses that we use during the product lifecycle. That means rethinking our economic activities and redesigning our approach.
3 Core principals of Circular Economy:
- Design out waste;
- Keep products and materials in use;
- Regenerate natural systems;
A circular economy is one where production is aligned with minimizing waste through the 3Rs approach. Let us look more closely at the 3Rs principles of a Circular Economy
- Reduce: Reduce by using as little as possible e.g. less packaging, less consumption, more durable products that last longer.
- Reuse: Reuse things in different ways to diminish the amount of waste you produce and reuse old products in a new way.
- Recycle: Recycle enables you to produce new raw materials from waste. This prevents rawer materials being extracted from the natural environment.
There are two others also important principles:
- ROT: composting organic waste
- Repair: fixing products to extend their usable life
“E-waste is referred to as almost any discarded household or business item with circuitry or electrical components with a power or battery supply”.
E-Waste cover 6 waste categories:
- Temperature exchange equipment (refrigerators, freezers, air conditioning, etc.)
- Large equipment: IT and telecommunication equipment; household appliances; electrical and electronic tolls; automatic dispensers, etc.
- Screens and monitors: screens, monitors, LCD photo frames, notebooks, etc.
- Small Equipment: electrical and electronic tolls, medical devices; automatic dispensers, etc.
- Small IT: mobile phones; GPS, routers, printers, etc.
- Lamps: fluorescent lamps; high intensity discharge lamps; LED, etc.
Taking steps to make your business Green and Circular
It is vital for green digital entrepreneurs to consciously tackle e-waste in the production, distribution, sales and use of their products and services. This can be done by researching your supply chain and the full lifecycle of your product or service. All businesses can manage their supply chain for:
- Responsible and ethical disposal of all electronic devices.
- Educate consumers about the importance of disposing of their electronic devices responsibly.
As conclusion you can look at number of GHG emissions-related standards that you can consider at your business, for example:
Greenhouse Gas Protocol This is a corporate accounting and reporting standard for calculating carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions, for which specific ICT sector guidance has been published.
ISO 14064 Specification with guidance at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals
Author: Milena Kraeva, Match-Maker Ventures