Sustainable Entrepreneurship Success Stories
2017 July 10
Sustainable entrepreneurship is not just the need of the hour, but also the future of business. In a world plagued by a multitude of environmental and social problems, sustainable entrepreneurship builds on the essential concepts of entrepreneurship to create an ecologically viable model that is driven not just to achieve profits but to contribute meaningfully to the world as well. Gaping problems like global warming, inequitable distribution of resources and depletion of resources can be addressed by these sustainable business models. The focus of this school of entrepreneurship is to create business opportunities by impacting the society positively and causing minimal damage to the environment.
Why Sustainable Entrepreneurship?
There has been a paradigm shift in the way a business’ success is measured today. Globally, people have become more aware of their carbon footprint and the impact that their choices have on the environment. The advent of alternative energy resources, electric cars and organic farming are only a few of the examples of this changing trend. It is thus essential that entrepreneurs embrace this eco-friendly model of business to stay relevant.
Contributing to the World through Sustainable Entrepreneurship
Sustainable entrepreneurship, although a relatively new concept, has been in practice for a long time. A few examples of such entrepreneurial businesses are –
Stonyfield Yogurt – During 1983-1987, this company was a start-up that began with the idea of involving its customers with positive environmental changes. Gary Hirshberg, the company’s CEO, said that his customers “liked the idea that their grocery dollars could go to causes that they cared about.” Ten percent of the company’s profits are donated to fund various environmental initiatives. Stonyfield Farms was America’s fourth most popular brand of Yoghurt and had 80 million dollars in annual sales by 2001. It crossed the 100 million dollar mark in 2010 and is in the running to rank third in the nation’s yoghurt sales.
Nest Learning Thermostat – Although thermostats have been around for a long time, they were never energy efficient. An entrepreneurial venture by Nest Labs changed the scenario. This unique thermostat adapts itself to household usage patterns and automatically changes the thermostat settings to achieve maximum energy efficiency. Over the period of a week, the thermostat studies the behavior of the family members and equips itself to turn down heating or cooling in the absence of the family. In spite of being priced higher than other thermostats, people preferred Nest as less energy is consumed by this thermostat which in turn leads to decreased greenhouse gas emissions.
Kiva – Social entrepreneurship involves the using of business strategies to bring about considerable modifications in societal practices to ensure its betterment. These ventures focus on creating a shared value- both for their companies as well as for the society. Founded by Jessica Jackley and Matt Flannery in October 2005, Kiva is a non-profit organization that connects people with the mission of reducing poverty by lending. Since its inception, Kiva has involved nearly six hundred thousand lenders and generated more than 200 million dollars in loans.
Sustainable Entrepreneurship doesn’t end with a great idea; it requires constant change and innovation to create practices that are profitable yet not damaging to the world around.
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