Why is Ecopreneurship Important?
People buy things either to survive, to satisfy their wants, or to replace something they have, which most likely will not ever change. However, with the drastic rise in concerns towards the environmental state of the planet and how it is affected by human activity, especially in recent years, people are more open to change their routines to accommodate planetary issues. This would then explain the booming popularity of the sustainable sector and its environmentally-conscious goods and services in the last decade. Consequently, this marked the beginning of a new era in modern-day business: the sustainable business era. We are slowly transitioning from conventional entrepreneurship to environmental entrepreneurship or otherwise known as ecopreneurship. Unlike its alternative, ecopreneurship has an immense, but positive impact on the planet! As much as its beneficial, ecological consequences have been highlighted throughout our actions, does ecopreneurship have other positive repercussions? Simply put, yes, and the following paragraphs will explain positive outcomes and showcase how certain Toronto-based and international businesses fit the narrative of ecopreneurship.
The Benefits of Ecopreneurship
Before we start discussing the different positive impacts of ecopreneurship, let us briefly go over what entrepreneurship is. Essentially, entrepreneurship refers to the process of making and selling a good or service for economic gain, which can solve an issue happening in a given society and make the consumers feel great when buying goods or services (Rikawati, 2019). This definition is where ecopreneurship will prove to be different from conventional entrepreneurship, as it is more than economic gain, keeping the economy going, and bringing satisfaction to customers. Indeed, according to Muñoz (2013), “Sustainable entrepreneurship is focused on pursuing business opportunities to bring into existence future products, processes and services, while contributing to sustain the development of society, the economy and the environment and consequently to enhance the well-being of future generations.” In short, the different types of positive impacts of ecopreneurship can be divided into 4 different categories: “social justice, environmental protection, economic prosperity, and intra and intergenerational equity” (Muñoz).
The first category concerns social justice, meaning that ecopreneurship must help society in one way or another. For instance, the most evident result of ecopreneurship in this category would be the fact that communities are slowly becoming more eco-friendly. When it comes to identifying whether or not someone’s actions adhere to ecopreneurship, think about how they would help someone! Another way to find out is to verify whether or not that entity helps in making a better society in general, which could be transforming the everyday market when it comes down to the business area (Muñoz).
The second category is the environmental protection one. As mentioned above, ecopreneurship, just like how it says in the name, is known to be easy on the environment. Additionally, its consequences that fall in this category are what most people first think of when ecopreneurship is mentioned. A reason why that is the case is probably how noticeable those impacts are. For example, the difference is much more visible when a body of water gets cleaner as there is less toxic industrial waste thrown in it than when a societal habit slowly changes for the best. Thus, this category solely focuses on the impacts of ecopreneurship that affect the environment, often by protecting the planet and attempting to reverse or slow down the damages from human activity (Muñoz).
Next is the third category, which corresponds to the economic prosperity aspect of ecopreneurship. Just like conventional entrepreneurship, this category is about the profits that arise from selling goods and services. Even though this section may not sound as meaningful as the other two above, the economic aspect of ecopreneurship is still relevant. As a matter of fact, the profits that come out of a sustainable business can be reinvested into the other areas of a company, which ultimately keeps the economy going! The latter is quite important as our lives would be seriously changed, if the economy crashes. Also, selling sustainable goods is quite beneficial as it can influence people’s consumption habits, making society overall more environmentally conscious, which relates to the first category (Muñoz).
The last category refers to intra- and inter-generational equity, meaning that, unlike conventional business, ecopreneurship attempts to give an equal opportunity to everybody to have the same quality of life. Unlike the other 3 categories, ecopreneurship does not often act towards that equity directly because this improved quality of life can be achieved by the results of the categories mentioned above. As societies start thriving with the help of ecopreneurship, it is almost guaranteed that people’s standards of living will get better and fairer. However, businesses that adhere to ecopreneurship can also attain that end goal faster by directly making eco-friendly changes in a given community (Muñoz), which will be underlined in a particular business below.
In these challenging times, where health should be prioritized, we must stay away from large gatherings. Consequently, this becomes a letdown for many people as they will not get to spend meaningful time with their loved ones in person on various occasions, such as birthday parties. However, with the help of this first business and online meeting platforms, the fun may still go strong during quarantine! Indeed, ECHOage is a charity birthday planning business located in Toronto that hits all of the ecopreneurship’s effects categories above. Since the world is currently affected by a pandemic, ECHOage has decided to offer birthday and gathering planning services to help many people. For instance, one notable aspect of this business is that they teach children not to become greedy for presents on their birthdays as people can set up a charity for guests to donate, enabling them to have fun while helping others. As various charities have teamed up with ECHOage, gathering events can definitely help to fill in the gaps in a society where there is an issue, making many people’s lives better. Moreover, the parents of the birthday child can organize a group gift for the guest to all come together for, resulting in gifting a much more meaningful gift, and less unwanted gifts that would have ended up in landfill anyway. Of course, these services will surely be available when it is entirely safe for everyone to come together again (New! Party Virtually With Our Great Partners, n.d.)!
Toronto Tool Library
The next business is Toronto Tool Library, a library that focuses on renting tools that can be used towards home renovations, garden maintenance, repairs, etc. Essentially, how Toronto Tool Library works is that customers have to pay a membership fee of $55 per year before starting to borrow the tools they need. Overall, this business aligns with ecopreneurship because it fights against modern-day consumerism. Indeed, they help diminish the trash in landfill that is related to those maintenance appliances. They do so by accepting donations from the public, which can then be rented by other people. They also organize an annual fundraiser where the funds will go directly to support the repairment of donated tools and the business’ operations. All in all, Toronto Tool Library will enable people to give and borrow the tools they need for a project, which will diminish the need for some people to own tools, thus reducing waste thrown in the environment (Home, n.d.).
Good Foot Delivery
The last Torontonian business that will be discussed before moving on to the two international companies is Good Foot Delivery, a sustainable delivery company. The company’s green service might sound odd to you as delivery services and sustainability do not always go hand in hand. Nevertheless, Good Foot Delivery is very environmentally-friendly as their delivery services have a shallow ecological footprint since they focus on distributing their parcels on transit and foot. On top of that, this company also makes sure to hire people from the neuro-diverse community. For example, the group of people whose brains are affected by variations in sociability and learning. This act is greatly beneficial in making the neurodiverse community’s living standards better as people in it are severely underemployed compared to people who are not in that same group. Therefore, Good Foot Delivery helps society and the environment by hiring people from the neurodiverse community for its delivery services, and by providing low to non-polluting services in Toronto (Good Foot Delivery, n.d.).
The People’s Supermarket
The first international business that will be explored is The People’s Supermarket, a store located in the United Kingdom. Contrary to conventional supermarkets who throw away the produce they could not sell, The People’s Supermarket cooks theirs to sell affordable meals! This market also helps out families with a smaller grocery shopping budget with their price-friendly products on top of reducing waste and limiting their ecological footprint. Another exciting aspect of this supermarket is that they let the public be part of the staff for a short commitment (usually 4 hours per month) giving staff benefits in return. Indeed, those who wish to get involved with this market will receive a discount on their purchases. Another perk is that people can become part of a flourishing community where people will try to prevent accumulating food waste at The People’s Supermarket. It is unfortunate to see that the business model for grocery stores will stay wasteful for a while due to COVID-19 restrictions. Nonetheless, The People’s Supermarket will ultimately help serve as an example by revolutionizing the food market world through promoting zero-waste operation methods and making more people more involved with what they eat (THE PEOPLES SUPERMARKET - For the people, by the people, n.d.).
The last business covered in this article is Waste4Change, a social, waste management enterprise that has operated in Indonesia since 2014. Like every other waste management company around the world, Waste4Change helps the environment by managing, collecting, and sorting the waste from public entities to individual homes. However, this company distinguishes itself from the lot by helping make a better society through various campaigns that promote the importance of waste management towards fellow Indonesians. Thus, Waste4Change will eventually assure an equal opportunity for every Indonesian to have access to a sustainable lifestyle. They will do so thanks to their campaigns that help make a more sustainable society and their services that help preserve their environment (Perusahaan Sosial yang Menyediakan Pengelolaan Sampah secara Bertanggung jawab, n.d.).
As we approach the end of this article, I hope you had an enjoyable time reading it since its content is a bit more scholarly, just like my last blog post. Ecopreneurship, as I mentioned above, is an essential factor that can make or break the prosperity of a society. So, I hope that you learned something new and will think twice next time before buying something. If the opportunity arises, please support sustainable businesses near you, any help is graciously needed to make a more prosperous and sustainable future. Want to hear more about the companies that have been touched upon in this article? Feel free to pay them a visit on their websites and social media platforms. If you liked this article and are still itching to learn more stuff, please head over to our other blog posts and social media accounts for more content. See you in our next article!
Good Foot Delivery. (n.d.). From https://www.goodfootdelivery.com/
Home. (n.d.). From https://torontotoollibrary.com/
Muñoz, P. (2013, November). The Distinctive Importance of Sustainable Entrepreneurship [PDF]. Peñalolén: Current Opinion in Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
New! Party Virtually With Our Great Partners. (n.d.). From https://www.echoage.com/
Perusahaan Sosial yang Menyediakan Pengelolaan Sampah secara Bertanggung jawab. (n.d.). From https://waste4change.com/official/
Rikawati, A. W. (2019, August 17). IMPLEMENTATION OF ECOPRENEURSHIP FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY (BASED ON THE STUDY OF: WASTE4CHANGE AND BIN-GO TRASH) [PDF]. Bandung: Universitas Pasundan.
THE PEOPLES SUPERMARKET - For the people, by the people. (n.d.). From https://www.thepeoplessupermarket.org/