What do Uber, eBay and smartphones have to do with sustainability?

Smart new business models are delivering radical forms of sustainability – without any mention of the “S” word.

Online shoppingeBay, Gumtree and others are enabling product reuse and recycling across the globe and in all sorts of market places.  Whether it’s a 10 year old girl updating her toy collection, a home handman acquiring tiling tools, or a larger scale purchase, there’s a lot of stuff getting re-used that used to sit in cupboards and garages, or make the trip to landfill.

Affordable web site tools and shopping carts are enabling small businesses to take their products to the world, radically reinventing the global supply chain.  And just think about what’s likely to happen as smart phones and tablets spread beyond the first world.  We’ve also yet to see how 3D printing will change business delivery processes.

Uber, AirBNB and others are turning other people’s unused resources into value – without owning a car or a bed.  (Delivering on the promise of the service and flow economy described in Natural Capitalism.)

Smart phones and tablets are contributing to radical resource productivity, where a single device replaces several including: camera, video camera, DVD player, CD player,  audio recorder, watch, compass, address books, diaries and street directories.
(Do we need to get the manufacturers delivering them as a service and designing them for remanufacture?  YES!  That doesn’t mean that there’s not a whole lot of serious de-materialisation going on.)

3D printing is going to further reinvent product supply – making many warehouses irrelevant and radically reshaping what gets shipped to where.

Leveraging the wealth of opportunities implicit in regenerative business is a much bigger game than energy efficiency, solar power and scarcity.  It’s also a lot more fun…

Regenerative business isn’t rocket science…

The core principles of regenerative business are fundamentally economically sound, and are increasingly showing up in entrepreneurial success stories, supported by smart technology.

Strategically, the core concepts are straightforward and extremely understandable – the real challenge is in how we get them adopted.  That takes entrepreneurial skill and smart innovation delivery – both of which are increasingly learnable skills.

Deep Green Profit Handbook for Regenerative BusinessFor more about the straightforward principles of Regenerative Business, download our free ebook here.

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About Leigh

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Leigh is the principal of the business innovation practice Balance3 and her clients have included corporations such as Amcor, National Foods, Dair, SPC Ardmona, Kobelco, Corporate Express and New Balance as well as a range of smaller businesses and individual clients.