Sustainable entrepreneurship

10 ideas to undertake in sustainable sectors

Continuing with the publications that we carry out from the Entrepreneurship Research group of the Innova Institute de La Salle-URL, this week we have been working to discover areas related to sustainability, in which there are possibilities of successful entrepreneurship. We have addressed this issue because we think that after the Covid-19 (what is already called the PostCovid-19) sustainability will be a much more considered feature in business models than it has been until now.

The areas in which we think there are opportunities are the following:

1. Agriculture and food industry: The world hiatus caused by Covid-19 is supplying a small truce that is allowing a regeneration of the planet. Environmental awareness has grown, consumption of resources is more responsible, there has been a notable improvement in environmental quality, and people have realized that protecting the environment contributes to a healthier and more balanced life.

2. Sustainable urban mobility: The high concentration of people in the means of transport and its improvable health conditions have made urban mobility one of the main sources of infection, increasing the risk of contracting the virus by between 4% and 6%. Consequently, the authorities and administrations of many countries have been forced to minimize its use and consider developing sustainable ventures in this sector.

3. The circular economy: The European Commission has just published the Action Plan for the Circular Economy. Proposed policies include increased product durability, the right to repair electronic devices, reduced use of plastics, and more accurate eco-labeling, among others. Following this path, the Innova Institute predicts that undertaking on issues related to the circular economy is a good opportunity for the PostCovid-19 scenario.

4. Integrated and efficient water management: Water scarcity already affects globally. What was once a problem for developing countries is now also a problem for developed countries. Water is not an infinite resource, but it is used as if it were. For this reason, the need for a comprehensive water treatment has been evident throughout its generation, use and recovery cycle. Despite everything, in 2030 there will still be 60% of the countries in the world that will not carry out this necessary comprehensive treatment system.

5. Logistics and supply chain: The companies that have provided a fast, safe and reliable service during Covid-19, and are also committed to sustainability, are those that will be strengthened after the pandemic and will generate confidence in customers in the PostCovid-19 era. These companies focus on innovation and quality, acting locally, but under collaborative logistics management models with other companies in the network. Thus, they meet the needs of small batches, with fast service and ensuring quality and traceability in the process.

6. Fashion, the second most polluting industry: El coronavirus ha provocado un enorme parón generalizado en la industria de la moda, ya sea por el cierre de tiendas o fábricas para proteger a sus trabajadores, por volcarse voluntariamente en la producción de prendas para uso médico o porque su producción dependía mayoritariamente de China o Italia. La moda, que produce más del 10% del total de emisiones de CO² en el planeta, es la segunda industria que más agua consume. Los plásticos han reemplazado a las fibras naturales y el poliéster se usa en el 60% de la producción, generando de dos a tres veces más carbono que el algodón sin degradarse en el océano. Greenpeace indica que el lavado de las prendas arroja al mar el equivalente a 50 billones de fragmentos en microfibras.

7. Replacing oil derivatives: La fundación Ellena MacArthur señala en un estudio que el 40% del empaquetado de plástico acaba en basureros, un tercio en el océano y solo un 14% se recicla. Esto dibuja un escenario crítico. Por eso, la búsqueda de sustitución de biopolímeros y la implementación de estrategias 100% funcionales para el reciclaje es una necesidad para la industria. La startup Oimo, ubicada en La Salle Technova, el parque de innovación de La Salle-URL, se dedica al diseño de nuevos materiales ecológicos en España y Reino Unido. Con la voluntad de reducir los 14 millones de toneladas de plástico que terminan en el océano, ha desarrollado un material soluble al agua como alternativa al packaging de plástico. En este sentido, el Innova Institute considera que el emprendimiento sostenible en empaquetados alternativos al plástico saldrá reforzado en el PostCovid-19.

8. Energy efficiency: The Covid-19 crisis has revealed that transformative changes are possible overnight. In terms of energy, it is demonstrated that there is no reason not to phase out fossil fuels and deploy renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. It is in line with this concept that the European Union has developed a series of proposals to lead the economy towards energy savings.

9. Telecommunications technology: During the confinement of the Covid-19, the traffic on online platforms that allow the organization of meetings, the development of virtual classes and the establishment of communications and conversations has increased considerably. Some of them were already known —such as Zoom, Hangout and Whereby— and others have taken the opportunity to make themselves known or to implement complementary services.

10. The built space: El Covid-19 ha promovido el desarrollo del teletrabajo, pero también ha evidenciado que esta opción tiene condiciones mínimas para su desarrollo. La experiencia previa permite reconocer los modelos de economía colaborativa asociados a estas propuestas como oficinas compartidas, los garajes compartidos y los lugares de cowork. La fuerza de estos movimientos ha llevado a que empresas de comunicación como ETB, Movistar y Mapfre Seguros hayan presentado a sus usuarios espacios de coworking. Sin embargo, se deben asegurar condiciones mínimas para optimizar los resultados, tanto la separación de ambientes entre la familia y el trabajo, facilitar la innovación al interactuar con empresas del mismo sector, la transferencia del conocimiento o al generar alianzas y complementos cuando se dan espacios con empresas de diferentes sectores.

The original article with all the sections well explained you can read it here: The Innova Institute analyzes how sustainable entrepreneurship could be for the PostCovid-19 era

I hope this information is helpful to you and allows you to reflect on the need for sustainability in future ventures.

Keep in touch.

Montse.

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