Green economics is defined as the utilization of a wide range of economic activities that are responsible for lower emission of greenhouse gases and usage of resources in a better way while also functioning as commercial businesses.
The term green economy was first introduced in 1989 in a report from the United Kingdom which was presented by an environmental economist titled “Blueprints of Green Economy”. In 2008 United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) used the term “green stimulus packages” which was later become a Green economy. According to UNEP green economy is defined as “an economy that results in improved human well-being and reduced inequalities over the long term, while not exposing future generations to significant environmental risks and ecological scarcities”.
Green economics is based on sustainable development and principles of ecological economies. One basic principle is to create a low-carbon economy and reduce the depletion of natural resources and waste generation from economic growth. There are many key factors that are identified for green economics that includes renewable energies, energy-efficient products, and services for buildings, lower carbon transport, water and wastewater treatment, waste management, and green tourism.
The aim of green economics is to develop and provide opportunities for companies to export relevant goods and services and attract investors for investment globally. Many countries worldwide have excellent renewable energies and water resources, the need is the utilization of engineering, information, and communication technology and strong research development in this sector. By focusing on renewable energy resources like biomass, air, water, etc. the energy generation cost can be minimized and environmental benefits can be obtained.
By developing and implementing several economic models based on sustainable growth will provide the following advantages
- Freeing up resources for household spending and productive investment by reducing the energy and cost of the material.
- Providing reliance on imports and exposure to the fragile geopolitics of energy supply
- Providing a boost to jobs in the expanding environmental industries sector
- Making progress towards the demanding carbon emission reduction targets needed to stabilize the global climate
- Protecting valuable ecological assets and improving the quality of the living environment.
Along with developing sustainable energy resources, successful green economics will require a more environmentally sustainable approach to the production and consumption of water energy and waste generation, with a major focus on resource efficiency. It is important to ensure efficiency implemented to all sectors of the economy globally that allow the economy to create more with less, deliver greater value with less input and utilize resources in a properly managed way to minimize environmental loss.
The green economy requires three pillars for sustainable development that are social, environmental and economic sustainability and their associated benefits are as follow
Economic benefits of green economics are economic savings e.g gains through waste prevention measures, the value obtained from waste in form of secondary material/energy, resource security and availability of less costly substitute materials for production through recycling, less cost associated with residual waste management and greater availability and value of land
Social benefits of the green economy include reduced medical cost through improved health and safety, job creation and less unemployment, poverty alleviation, improved employment conditions, improved public amenity, public engagement, and participation
Environmental benefits of the green economy are resource efficiency that can be obtained by the conservation of natural resources, raw materials, fossil fuel and energy, environmental protection, saved environmental costs such as flooding, water quality, air quality, land biodiversity, and ecosystem services, climate benefits can be obtained by reduced emission of greenhouse gases.
Conventionally it was supposed that environmental protection is a burden imposed on companies or industries however research has shown that improving a company’s environmental performance is associated with better economic performance. Significant research has been done on the topic of green economics and green profitability. Opportunities to increase revenue while improving performance, more cost benefits analyses from the company point of view of strategies to differentiate products are needed.
A sound investment in waste management infrastructure, equipment, and services that support the local economy, utilize local expertise, and minimize environmental and social costs can be costly, but their absence can be equally as costly. A poorly managed waste system imposes social and environmental costs and economic losses, whereas a properly functioning resource management/waste system brings benefits across all of these elements. Many of the best strategies for waste reduction, recycling and composting produce benefits for a quadruple bottom line – they require less capital investment, create more jobs and sustain more livelihoods, protect public health, provide secondary material to production processes and minimize CO2 emissions.
For the waste sector to support the progression toward a Green Economy not only do we need to maximize resource efficiency giving consideration to the whole lifecycle of products but also the way we value enterprises where factors such as the creation of sustainable employment and protection of the environment are valued alongside economic growth and profit.