Green business

Green business

 

Extensive study about green business opportunities and good practices in Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories have been done by OCTA Innovation and Alan Cooper, short-term expert from Trinidad-and-Tobago. Innovation in the Field of Green Business for Micro and Small Enterprises in the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) is an overview of best available practices (BAPs) within the OCTs for introducing eco-innovation to the micro and small enterprises (MSEs). The report is intended to present a menu of BAPs from which OCT governments, innovation managers and other interested agencies may select the options best suited to their circumstances.

The chief output of the project is a 5 year brief action plan for transforming the OCTs from the MSE level. Within the OCTs, MSEs comprise the majority of the private sector and eco-innovation is a valuable approach for reducing their long-term costs, boosting productivity and/or improving earnings of the MSEs. Eco innovation holds promise for insulating the OCTs against the impacts of climate change and economic downturn. Eco-innovation specifically for the MSE sectors of the OCTs is essential because, although micro and small enterprises make up the majority of business activity1 in the OCTs, MSEs can be easily omitted from eco-innovation unless specific measures are taken to include them. The potential exclusion of MSEs is explained by the fact that the global leaders in eco-innovation are typically geographically distant from the OCTs and the fact that it is often costly to appropriate the most up-to-date eco-innovation because it is expensive in smaller economies.

Despite the potential, interest and an acute need for eco-innovation within the OCTs, there is an equally pressing need for solutions that are cost-effective and accessible. This study attempts to close this gap to some extent by presenting cost effective and accessible solutions that have already been applied within the OCTs and several nearby territories. Eco-innovation in the OCTs is important to developing a green economy, which is defined as one that strives for production that is carbon neutral, results in environmental improvement and creates decent, sustainable employment. It rests upon the triple pillars of people, profit and planet. In practical terms the green economy has implications for:

  • The built environment: Buildings that are resistant to hurricanes and storms, buildings requiring less energy for light and temperature regulation; construction practices that minimise the utilisation of water, electricity, space and harm to flora and fauna; multiple use buildings; improved energy efficiency.
  • Production (manufacturing): Production of goods and services in an energy efficient way or using renewable energy and minimising waste.
  • Transport: Sustainable transport and reduced use of fossil fuels and contaminants.
  • Food production and land management: Agriculture (crops, livestock and fisheries) characterised by sustainable production and harvesting, safe healthy food, cost minimisation and improving value added on finished products.
  • Ecosystem management: The protection of the environmental assets such as forests that maintain the water table and reefs that preserve natural fish stocks that preserve life in the OCTs.

The main recommendations of the report are that:

  • OCT governments create supportive infrastructure for entrepreneurship and small business development while simultaneously introducing sustainability training through enterprise hatcheries, incubators and accelerators. These may be established inter-island.
  • OCT governments stimulate demand for green goods and services by progressively introducing green public procurement.
  • Government continue investing in green mega projects and public works and utilise tourism foreign direct investment projects to generate significant spill-over effects to support eco-innovation in smaller enterprises.
  • Contracts and covenants with foreign direct investors should be used to support eco-innovation for smaller enterprises which otherwise would be unable to afford the particular level of eco-innovation. Particular emphasis must be placed upon tourism as a method of supporting smaller enterprises in eco-innovation. The tourism product be used strategically, because of its inter-sectorial, crosscutting nature to introduce and develop eco-innovation to MSEs, emphasising sustainable buildings, energy and transport, agriculture and environmental management.
  • All initiatives be coordinated among the OCTs at a high level through the OCTA, which should operate as Project Manager for the initiative, using a participatory action learning approach that facilitates the information sharing, sharing technical assistance and for capitalising a regional eco-innovation enterprise fund.

Study could be downloaded at collaborative part of the OCTA Innovation ePlatform. (link)

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