The Industrial Revolution accelerated economic growth, urbanization, and overconsumption habits have increased environmental and natural resources pressures.
Technological advancements have led to more intensive use of natural resources and the accumulation of more waste than in the past.
Even though the current effects are bad for the environment and all natural ecosystems, it was the necessary evil to push society ahead thousands of years. This blog you are reading now couldn't have been written without the industrial revolutions. Your phone, personal computer, and everything around us.
We don't say it's good, but instead of pointing out the villains, let's focus on systems that can solve the problems and shift the direction toward a more sustainable future.
Greening The Industries
By greening the industries, we want to ensure that all industries, regardless of sector, size or location, continuously improve their environmental performance.
This connects responsibilities and actions to reduce the environmental impact of processes and products through using resources more efficiently, cutting out toxic substances, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, bringing increased producer accountability, and lowering the overall risks.
Redesigning The Outputs
Creating green industries by stimulating the development and creation of initiatives that provide environmental-friendly goods and services.
The green industry is a growing and diverse vertical that covers all types of services and technologies aimed at contributing to reducing negative environmental impacts or addressing the consequences of various forms of pollution.
This includes material recovery, recycling, waste management, treatment, and reverse logistics companies. Other examples include engineering companies specializing in wastewater treatment, air pollution control, and waste treatment equipment.
The vertical also contains environmental and energy consultants, in addition to the providers of integrated solutions, for example, energy service companies (esCOs) that offer design, implementation of energy-saving projects, energy conservation, energy infrastructure outsourcing, power generation, energy supply, and risk management.
A central segment of the sector is monitoring, measuring, and analysis providers. Green industries also include businesses that fabricate and establish renewable energy equipment and companies that develop and produce clean technologies.
This dual approach promotes sustainable production and consumption patterns, i.e., resource and energy-efficient, low-carbon, low-waste, non-polluting, and safe, which produce responsibly handled products throughout their lifecycle.
While Green Industry approaches are relevant to all types of enterprises of all sizes and sectors, the small and medium industries are the most critical for the early stages of green industrialization.
This includes enterprises that process raw materials and convert raw materials into sub-products or products through upcycling/downcycling.
Unplugged For Growth
Unplugging is critical to greening industries and sustainable economic growth.
The concept splits the link between environmental 'bad' and economic 'goods.' Unplugging occurs when the growth rate of an ecological pressure is less than the GDP over a specific period.
Decoupling can be relative or absolute. Absolute decoupling occurs when the environmental pressures are stable or decreasing while economic growth continues to increase.
Relative decoupling occurs when environmental pressures continue at a lower rate than economic growth. Policymakers can use the decoupling concept to measure the effectiveness of resource and energy efficiency measures.
A System Strategy
In aiming to redesign the economy, we found a new "cradle to cradle" approach, considering waste from one vertical as a resource for another.
This new approach changes how policies and supporting infrastructures are designed and how science is performed.
Such transition is marked by a multi-disciplinary approach with a shift in focus toward production and use systems while adopting more integrated and systematic methods to improve sustainability performance and strengthen the foundation for new circular business models and approaches.
Efforts to create closed-loop circular manufacturing systems focus on revitalizing disposed products into new resources for production.