When the heads of governments and nations meet in Brazil in June this year to discuss about a globally sustainable development, the question about defining a sustainable economy will also come up. It has taken a long time before governments have agreed about the basic guidelines of the term “Green Economy”. For more than a decade, the “green movement” has been shaped without a unifying political image, leading to the present, multifaceted term of the Green Economy. Some prefer to call it “greenwashing”.
Slowly a consensus has been found that the Green Economy’s aim is a “naturally supportable economy of low emissions”. Of course a constituting policy of regulation is necessary to follow this path, which supports businesses orientated towards innovation and reduces emissions of pollutants into the environment. In spite of all the progress which has been reached concerning this subject, we know that the Green Economy is only a step of transformation towards a change of paradigms in the social and economic development.
On February 10, 2012, a UNEP press communication stated:
“Mediterranean countries and the European Union meeting in Paris have called for a “blue” economy to be set up to safeguard and promote a clean, healthy, productive Mediterranean environment.”1
The creator of the term “Blue Economy”, Prof. Gunter Pauli, is delighted that UNEP and the Mediterranean countries have adopted his term Blue Economy for an undoubtedly positive initiative to protect a clean, healthy and productive Mediterranean environment. With the report “Green Economy in a Blue World” the United Nations are pointing out the potential of the Oceans: Economy and Protection of the Environment do not need to oppose each other.
Achim Steiner summarizes the results as follows: “An expansion of green investment in marine and coastal resources as well as a reinforcement of international cooperation within management of cross-frontier ecosystems are essential if the transition to a CO2-reduced and resource efficient green economy is meant to become a reality.”2
Even so, we should not forget that the Report to the Club of Rome “The Blue Economy” which features a hundred examples and envisions the possibility of creating 100 million jobs, is setting an even more challenging objective. Since 2010, Blue Economy is successfully presenting one innovation per week including market data and indications regarding its potential to thousands of entrepreneurs, inspiring them for imitation worldwide.
Sustainable business in the spirit of the Blue Economy makes it possible to respond to the basic needs of all without exploiting the natural resources, but also without a need to renounce to commodities. In contrast to the Green Economy, the Blue Economy stands for a new way of designing businesses, a new market-oriented business model, sustainable businesses and sustainable growth. Blue Economy stands for making the good more accessible and the bad more expensive. Blue Economy stands for clean water, clean air and for Planet Earth.
The term Blue Economy means: Using available resources in cascading systems, the waste of one product becomes the raw material for a new cash flow. In this way jobs are created, social capital is built and the income increases – without further exploiting and damaging the environment, but rather conserving and improving it. This makes sustainable growth possible. The present global economic system can be transformed into a sustainable development by innovations and entrepreneurship. Innovations and better livelihoods are promoted by demand, by means of the free market and by education instead of inhibiting them with subsidies and social barriers.
The key is a holistic view of things, it is about intelligent synergies and connections of different levels (cascades) within (eco)systems which might not be visible at first sight. Now we need to search for dialogue in order to promote a holistic understanding of an interrelated world of production, integrating the basic resource of water as a pillar for plants, animals, algae and bacteria.
In the sense of a partnership between ecologically oriented initiatives worldwide before the Rio+20 Summit, we offer the attractive term Blue Economy as a basis for a commonly and mutually consistent communication.