by Darrell Nelson
$265 billion, 1.6 million people, five percent growth per annum: not bad statistics for a sector that was close to zero just ten years ago. With an avalanche of media coverage, surging fuel prices, and political campaigns focused on ‘green’ issues, the state of the environment is affecting peoples consciences on a huge scale and ‘green business’ is booming.
About ten years ago to mutter “profit” in the same sentence as “green” would be regarded as somewhat of an oxymoron, but tides have turned across the board, and no longer is the environment the domain of the dreadlocked protestor. Nowadays green business is not about forgoing profit for the sake of the planet, but quite the opposite. What was previously manager versus environment is now seen as a hand-in-hand partnership that offers huge financial benefits. The reasoning is that the true price of a product harvested without an environmental conscience inevitably becomes much more expensive in the long run, as somewhere along the line the bill has to be picked up. “Companies absolutely must start considering the three Ps in every day business now if they want to stay in the game: people, planet, and profit,” says business consultant and management skills developer Chris Runnackles. “Consumers are a lot more aware nowadays than ever before, and demand that producers and companies now take responsibility not just for the bottom line of profit, but also society and the environment along the way.”
As a result there has been a large increase in demand for qualified personnel to fill roles in sectors such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), carbon trading, and green building and development, which Forbes recently quoted to be worth in the region of $12 billion. It is true that energy efficiency markets and social entrepreneurship are booming. In a study commissioned by Shell and authored by Cameron Hepburn, a fellow in Climate Policy at Oxford University, research suggests that “global commerce could receive a one trillion dollar boost from green business over the next five years.”
Due to this, alternative programs straying from the traditional business principles and aimed at educating students in sustainable practices are starting to garner a lot of attention, with businesses all wanting to cash in on the trend. Students are fast becoming the key stakeholders for change as they emerge from the new ‘green’ and sustainable programs springing up. “The aim is to educate future key business players with the business skills needed to look at the financial, environmental and social implications of management decisions” says Runnackles. With the rise in popularity of these programs, is it only a matter of time before the focus shifts in the economic model to a sustainable model? Let’s hope so.
Sustainable Business is no longer an option, but a necessity, to stay ahead in the market. The Anaheim University Kisho Kurokawa Green Institute, located in Minami Aoyama, currently offers one of the largest selections of sustainable courses available, including an MBA in Sustainable Management, and a Diploma and Green Certificate in Sustainability. For more information see www.anaheim.edu or contact [email protected] for an information session. Darrell Nelson is the International Liaison Office Director for the Kisho Kurokawa Green Institute.