Filling Bag Containers with Soil

Blue Economy Concept

When Gunther Pauli first wrote ‘The Blue Economy’ which carried the message ’10 years – 10 innovations – 100 million jobs’ it was revelatory, in the sense that it presented an innovative business model which revises the way we run our industrial processes and manage resultant environmental issues, by using the resources available in cascading systems.

‘Green Economy’ is based on clean and environmentally friendly production of goods, materials and energy. It utilizes a bio-based, cyclical model where raw materials for products are derived from plants or waste. While Green Economy has the right idea, it has several short-comings; its products, such as organic food, Fairtrade clothing and renewable energy is very expensive, and is inaccessible to a significant percentage of the global population. It also creates unintentional consequences that are less than sustainable. For instance, organic food or cosmetics use palm oil but destroys rainforests, production of bio-plastic endorses the growth of genetically modified plants. Thus, the final result is less sustainable than intended, and consumers have to pay more for poorer quality products, and investors have to pay more for lower yield.

The Blue Economy concept is very similar to Green Economy, in that it adopts a bio-based, cyclical method to reduce waste and increase sustainability. However, it acknowledges the inaccessibility of ‘green living’ and aims to provide human necessities by using locally available resources. The primary goal of blue economy is to design new business models that identify systems in nature where organic recycling or upcycling occurs, and imitate these processes to innovatively re-use generated waste. Thus, the waste of one product creates a new stream for generating cash flow. In this way, not only is our environment protected, but jobs are created, social capital is built, and income is increased. The video below further explains the Blue Economy:

In Sri Lanka, Blue Economy presents a virgin opportunity space that requires exploration and has the potential to create a rich society out of scarcity. MJF Awards thus invites innovators who have conceptual business models and working prototype developments that adopts the Blue Economy concept.