9/24/12: This guest post is written by Dr. Tom Dean, Professor of Entrepreneurship who also offers professional development courses through SEE: Sustainability Executive Education, at Colorado State University. Dr. Dean’s research focuses on the intersection of entrepreneurship and sustainability, and the economic opportunities inherent in the transition to a sustainable economy.
Global social and environmental trends represent pressing concerns for the future of the planet and human populations. Fortunately, entrepreneurs and innovators are powerful agents who can drive our movement to a sustainable economy and environment. A central proposition is that entrepreneurs, politicians, and others can embrace the market system to enable environmental and social sustainability, and that entrepreneurial action can capture economic value associated with environmental resources and alleviate non-sustainable systems. Nowhere are global challenges more evident than in our present sources and uses of energy, and understanding the dynamics of the new energy economy is critical to contributing entrepreneurial solutions. From predictions of peak oil and rising prices of fossil fuels to increasing constraints on carbon emissions, it is evident that a sustainable system will require the development and commercialization of new energy technologies.
Oftentimes, the development of new systems arises out of the failures of others. Market failures are argued to be the cause of non-sustainable economic behaviors, and entrepreneurial opportunity. The economic drivers, industry structures, and competitive dynamics of sustainable energy offer specific venture strategies that are currently being utilized to capture economic opportunities. But perhaps most importantly, these trends and the global movement to sustainability will create tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurial action and the capture of economic profits.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, Dr. Dean is offering an online course called “Sustainable Venturing and the New Energy Economy” starting Oct 15.