People often hold the view that business and environmental objectives are in conflict. Certainly we see cases of businesses pillaging scarce resources for short term gain. It is easy to see how businesses can bring about harm due to their focus on profit and growth. This often results in public call for government level regulation to place barriers around what businesses can do, a recent, local example being the public outcry over Anadarko proposing oil drilling off the coasts of New Zealand.
Despite business having a bad name with the environment they have a part to play as we look for long term solutions to solving energy problems. Businesses can contribute in our transition from non-renewable energy sources to renewable sources of energy because of their key objectives of profit and growth.
Businesses come about as a result of ideas and opportunity. Fostering a business culture allows for innovators to create alternatives for how we use energy- including new technologies and different ways of using current resources.
Creating alternatives is a key aspect in changing the way energy is used. Once viable alternatives are developed it becomes a lot easier to consider what our new sources of energy might be. Most would agree that we need to dramatically decrease our reliance on certain sources of energy, such as coal and oil, however the question remains- what will we shift to? Because businesses have a key objective of profit- they are well positioned to examine the needs of the market and create alternative products and technologies that suit these needs.
A large problem with new alternatives is that they are not always able to be implemented on a wide scale. In business there is a term called ‘scalability’ which considers how a technology can increase the number of customers it serves. It is one thing to create an alternative, but another thing entirely to ensure that technology becomes widely used. Businesses look to grow, therefore they are inherently driven to scale up. This is extremely beneficial for increasing the use of renewable sources of energy.
In many countries we are starting to see greater awareness of the need to change our sources of energy. Businesses will need to respond to this if they hope to survive the transition. By creating new technologies and scaling them, businesses can contribute to this transition. Objectives of profit and growth do not have to create conflict with the environment, instead we can use these objectives to develop viable alternatives that consumers want to use and implement them on a widespread scale.
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what you think in the comments section below.