Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don’t forget the lessons of the emerging world.

So, I went back to study and I currently find myself in Paris doing a Masters in International Economic Policy. Within this I have countless new forms of inspiration. At the same time however I don’t have an unlimited supply of hours so squeezing in blogs will require some discipline. I’ll try…

Anyway, today I am supposed to be researching Greek Debt but whilst doing so I came across a Schumpeter blog in the Economist concerning Green Growth and was very happy to do so. I thus felt compelled to write.

So what does it have to say? It focuses on some emerging-world companies which are combining growth with greenery. They have been identified by a new study conducted by the World Economic Forum and the Boston Consulting Group. They include India’s Shee Cement and Broad Group, a maker of air conditioning, in China as well as Masisa a Chilean forestry company.

Dubbed “the new sustainability champions” they are using their eco-competitiveness to actually reinforce economic growth not undermine it. They have taken their various limited resources and in fact turned them into their advantage.

Manila Water, a utility in the Philippines was losing water through  wastage and illegal tapping. It reduced this waste from 63% in 1997 to 12% in 2010 by making water affordable to the poor. Broad Group worldtaps the heat wasted from its buildings to power its machines. The Chilean forestry company, invites employees to “imagine unimaginable businesses”.

What’s even more interesting is the focus on emerging countries. As the blog reminds us this Western-centric focus on a top-down regulatory approach may not be the key in the emerging world where most of the world’s population actually lives.

“Their home-grown ideas will probably be easier for
peers to copy than anything cooked up in the West”

As discussed at the end of the article there is always the question of which came first the green or the growth? But what matters is that both are there. If we are indeed to focus on putting green first what this study and blog reminds us is that for many areas, especially in the emerging world, businesses are an essential player if this is going to work. Not only because they are a central part of everyday life but because in emerging countries where institutions and regulation may not play the same role businesses can step into the breach.

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