Publication

Our planet is sick and entrepreneurs could be relevant allies in the search for a cure

09 October 2023
Jorge Vinicio Murillo

The environmental problems we face today are undeniable and pressing. Climate change, caused mainly by greenhouse gas emissions, has reached alarming levels. There is a 50% chance that the average annual temperature will exceed pre-industrial levels by 1.5°C over the next four years. This figure indicates the point at which the effects of global warming will worsen and is close to the 2°C limit set in the 2015 Paris Agreement [1]. Currently we have begun to experience extreme temperatures in different regions, a large number of costly fires and increases in sea levels that threaten to affect Latin American cities located in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. [2]  

The overuse of natural resources is another urgent symptom of the planet's gravity. By the year 2023, humanity had exhausted Earth's annual ecological budget in just over seven months.[3] This means we are consuming resources at an unsustainable rate and endangering our planet's ability to regenerate. In addition, environmental pollution is also worrying. The proliferation of plastics and toxic chemicals is damaging biodiversity, polluting water and affecting human health. Just to give an example, between 9 and 14 million tons of plastic enter the oceans every year, threatening marine life and coastal ecosystems [4] and with it, life on the planet.

Faced with an increasingly sicker planet and in which the actions of governments and large companies to cure their ailments seem not to be enough, entrepreneurs could join the search for a cure to avoid climate disaster. Green entrepreneurship in Latin America is experiencing an exciting boom, with an increase in investment and adoption of sustainable solutions in several key sectors. Startups such as Negawatt [5] in Guatemala or Penseed [6] in Costa Rica are just two examples of the many green entrepreneurial initiatives that INCAE Business School has supported in its academic programs. As the planet continues to face environmental challenges that deteriorate its health, these ventures play a crucial role in the search for innovative and sustainable solutions that contribute to its cure.

Green entrepreneurship is recognized as the creation, development and management of businesses that seek to generate positive economic and environmental impacts. These ventures are rooted in the idea that profitability should not compromise the sustainability of the planet. Therefore, green entrepreneurs strive to address environmental challenges by identifying opportunities for innovation in traditional and emerging sectors, which benefits the environment, but in turn, can be a source of differentiation and competitiveness for new companies. in an increasingly aware market. 

Entrepreneurs can move faster than slow governments to address the planet's environmental challenges. Your contribution could be in creating sustainable solutions through renewed approaches in which businesses are drivers of positive change. Thus, green entrepreneurship is not just a fad, but a necessary and valuable response to the environmental challenges we face.

Here it is important to note that sustainability has also found its way into the corporate entrepreneurship activities of many large companies. Corporations such as Cargill, Adidas and Volvo have implemented sustainable corporate entrepreneurship strategies with successful results. These companies are reinventing the way they do business with real impact on the long-term health of our planet. By partnering with promising startups, corporations are turning sustainability challenges into opportunities for growth, product development, greater financial returns, and positive impact on our planet.

Thus, green entrepreneurship in Latin America transcends borders and sectors. From precision agriculture that optimizes the use of water and fertilizers to sustainable mobility that reduces congestion and emissions in cities. The possibilities are vast, but it should be noted that an innovative mindset committed to sustainability is essential to harness the potential of green entrepreneurship in creating a more balanced future, both environmentally and economically. This type of mentality has grown strongly in the Latin American context and must be promoted with resources, knowledge and opportunities for growth. Green entrepreneurship has the potential to transform the region towards a more resilient and sustainable future and thus contribute to a cure for the disease facing our planet.

Each individual endeavor may only have a small impact, but put all those impacts together and they will begin to make a real change to the health of the planet. Will this be enough to cure him? Only time will tell, but it's a start.

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  1. World Meteorological Organization (2022). Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update. https://library.wmo.int/index.php?lvl=notice_display&id=22083
  2. Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). (2023). Climate Action and the Paris Agreement: The Role of the Cities of Latin America and the Caribbean. https://publications.iadb.org/publications/spanish/document/Accion-clima...
  3. Global Footprint Network. (2023). Earth Overshoot Day. https://www.footprintnetwork.org/our-work/earth-overshoot-day/
  4. United Nations Environment Program (2021). From Pollution to Solution: A global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution. Nairobi. https://wedocs.unep.org/xmlui/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/36963/POLSOL...
  5. https://www.negawattahorro.com/
  6. https://www.instagram.com/penseedcr/