As our pursuit of convenience and consumerism continues, the impact on the environment has become increasingly apparent. Climate change is a real and pressing issue, leading nations to join forces in the fight against global warming. However, the economy and environment are inherently connected, as production often leads to pollution. In order to address this challenge, the need for sustainable solutions has never been more crucial.

Nishant Tiwary
Nishant Tiwary Nishant Tiwary

Sustainability innovation plays a critical role in driving the green economy, as it involves the creation of new products, processes, or business models that prioritize environmental friendliness and social responsibility. In a recent telephonic interview with the International Business Times, climate change and energy transition expert Nishant Tiwary, who has received prestigious awards such as the Prime Minister's Baton in India, discussed how sustainability and innovation can drive the green economy.

Sustainability innovation refers to the creation of new products, processes, or business models that are designed to be environmentally friendly and socially responsible. This type of innovation helps to address some of the world's most pressing environmental challenges in three ways:

Promoting the renewable energy sources:

The International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2020, showed that the global use of fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) accounted for over 80% of the world's total primary energy consumption. The majority of this consumption was in the form of oil, which was used for transportation and the production of petrochemicals, followed by coal and natural gas, which were used primarily for electricity generation. "We are moving at an unprecedented rate, as if our resources are infinite. The sad and harsh reality is that we are burning through our finite fossil fuels and injecting large amounts of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere," says the John F. Kennedy Fellow at Harvard who has contributed numerous ideas to initiatives in energy transition, climate action space, and infrastructure finance.

Shifting to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydro power helps reduce the world's reliance on fossil fuels, which are a major contributor to climate change and environmental degradation.

Promoting sustainable business practices

Promoting sustainable business practices is an essential part of driving the green economy and creating a more sustainable future. This involves companies incorporating sustainability into all aspects of their operations, from the products they produce to the way they do business. One of the keyways that companies can promote sustainable business practices and minimize their carbon footprint and promote environmentally friendly practices. According to the Global Reporting Initiative, the top emitting sectors globally are energy, transportation, and industry, with energy being the largest contributor to global emissions. The energy sector, which includes the production and use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, is responsible for over 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation is another major contributor to business-related emissions, accounting for around 14% of total emissions. This includes emissions from vehicles such as cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes. The industrial sector, including manufacturing, construction, and mining, is responsible for around 21% of global emissions. This sector includes emissions from the production of cement, iron and steel, as well as emissions from various industrial processes and the use of fossil fuels for energy production. One-way businesses can reduce their carbon footprint is by reducing their energy usage, however this is easier said than done as more and more companies these days are functioning electronically so the demand for energy in the business sector has grown exponentially. Also, according to Tiwary, consumers rarely understand that kind of strain that the demand market has created for businesses globally. "There are logistics and technicalities that lay-men fail to consider. It's easy to find a video on Youtube and click play, but does the average Joe know how much power is needed to sustain the servers that host billions of gigabytes so that videos continue to exist? states Tiwary who is also a United Nations Global Taskforce member on the digitization of electricity in Europe.

Promoting the use of sustainable products and materials

Promoting the use of sustainable products and materials can boost the green economy in three ways. Firstly, it increases demand for environmentally friendly products, leading to the growth of industries producing sustainable goods and services, creating jobs and driving economic growth. Secondly, it reduces the use of non-renewable resources and waste, conserving resources and creating a more sustainable future. And finally, it drives innovation and the development of new sustainable products and technologies, such as eco-friendly packaging made from sustainable materials, reducing waste and promoting sustainability.

In conclusion, the use of sustainable materials and promoting sustainable business practices and the use of sustainable products can help reduce waste, conserve resources, and drive innovation, ultimately boosting the green economy and creating a more sustainable future for all.