As climate crisis awareness rises, the need for emergent solutions is addressed by communities of people, pushing businesses and the government to follow a more sustainable way of doing things. Thus, as businesses play a significant role in how we consume in our everyday lives and people are also more conscious of their choices, they lead to the development of green initiatives that include pro-environment behaviour.
Governments have pushed their focus even more on their environmental issues and forced their concern towards pollution, waste management, energy consumption and prioritising circular economy, using the internationally recognised framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Despite the measure taken until now regarding the climate crisis, the results remain far behind the ambitious environmental targets in many countries as part of the Green Deal, which aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions to zero. A result of this is the already existing business that hardly manages to change its process entirely to a more eco-friendly choice. The need for a new way of doing things brought a new model of ‘green principles’ to show to a new generation that aims both for-profit and for nature.
Society is also interested in the production methods, the effect on the environment and the resources used during the process. Quality and eco-friendliness of a product or service have equal meaning for the customer nowadays, encouraging bottom-up initiatives, and introducing the idea of ‘Green Entrepreneurship.
Its different definitions can also be called ‘eco-entrepreneurship’, ecological or sustainable entrepreneurship. Most literature does not examine the term as such but mainly the effect it has on the environment.
‘Green Entrepreneurship’ has been defined as a system that aims for the socio-ecological transformation of doing business. It was also described as the innovative way of a product or a service with the motivation to positively affect the profit of a business and impact both society and the environment.
‘Green Entrepreneurship’ is an economic activity, which has a positive effect on the environment, such as:
- Offering products or services that aim at changing consumer behaviour, reducing the negative effect on the environment;
Best Practice Example
A good practice example of green entrepreneurship that inspires behavioural change, education, enthusiasm and lots of creativity is the Repair Café Foundation. As a local community idea, Martine Postma, founder of Repair Café, started in 2007 in Amsterdam in the Netherlands to support sustainable living in many ways. It was such a success that it organised and spread to other cities and countries, which soon became a worldwide movement.
‘Repair Café’ aims to build resilient communities by sharing repair skills, strengthen the economy by offering repair and reuse services, and protect the environment by redirecting materials just before they enter the landfill into productive new use. Materials such as computers, electronics, household goods, appliances and furniture are used materials that enter the waste stream too often, overlooking their economic value at the end of use, as well as creating numerous problems to the environment during their life cycle, from the production stage, arriving at the shelve for sale, until its disposal. Whilst doing this, the Repair Caféskeep supports the local economy, as many things that need to be fixed can often be directed to professionals still around.
At the same time, you have the educational and creative part: there are some cafes where you can learn how to fix your broken furniture or piece of cloth and at the same time change the look or use of it, repurposing the item and making it useful for a lifetime. The Repair Cafésalso organise events that benefit the elderly who can use this opportunity as a social hub. At the same time, they bring generations together, as this idea can also interest younger people in repairing, designing and making new things out of repurposing materials.
Many events offered by the Repair Café are for free and based on volunteering, however, they revenue income by offering the possibility for others to start a Repair Café in other countries with a complete information package of how to do it. They also offer repair lessons to individuals and groups of people. Beyond the personal approach, the Repair Café Foundation offers its services to assess the sustainability of organisations by:
- Giving lectures on how to be more sustainable,
With their work, sharing philosophy, and focusing on more sustainable thinking by approaching education and society, the Repair Café Foundation started a movement that equally offers services to change behaviour in personal, community, and producers and organisations.
In conclusion, ‘Green Entrepreneurship’ could be defined as a new type of doing business that can profit by equally offering nature–oriented solutions and possibly solving some of the main ecological challenges through business activity.
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3. Gevrenova, T., 2015. Nature and characteristics of green entrepreneurship. Trakia Journal of Sciences, 13(Suppl 2), pp.321-323.
4. Isaak, R., 2016. The making of the ecopreneur. In Making Ecopreneurs (pp. 63-78). Routledge.
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