How Important is Innovation in Sustainability?

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Innovation is a diverse topic which is frequently brought up in the business community in both the developed and developing world.

At Strategic Sustainability Consultants, we define innovation as a new product, tangible or otherwise, or new method which shifts away from the business as usual approach. While innovation is frequently used in discussions on technology, we believe innovation is not strictly limited to technological innovation.

We also believe innovation is arguably the single most important factor in the achievement of the United Nations’ 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

The 17 goals and their 169 targets will not be achieved through a business as usual approach. The goals will only be achieved through the employment of innovative tools and methods.

What does this matter for business? This presents an incredible opportunity for businesses around the world, both large and small, to capitalise on the strategic direction of the world towards a more sustainable future.

Business owners who can see how their company could come up with a new product or a new method of business which is more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable will find themselves at the forefront of the marketplace.

However, sustainability should not be taken lightly. Just because an organisation engages in practices which are more environmentally sustainable, it doesn’t excuse increased engagement in practices which are socially unsustainable. The only way innovation can have true social impact is through hitting the triple bottom line in sustainability.

If you are a business owner who is interested in how you can become more innovative in your approach to sustainability, here are a few key areas of sustainable innovation which are currently trending.

Agriculture

Agriculture accounts for almost two-thirds of water usage in Australia alone. Innovation in the agricultural sector is a pressing topic for many Australian farmers. Not only are farmers looking for innovative technologies and innovative methods on becoming more sustainable for environmental reasons but also for economic reasons.

Health

Our days are getting busier and our free time diminishing before our eyes. Eating healthily, exercising and minimising stress seem to be impossible tasks. Innovative ways in which your organisation can reduce people’s time commitments and improve their health are high on the list for everyone, especially families.

Education

Many will argue that education is the key to economic growth. In this case, innovative ways in which your organisation can educate and further develop the knowledge of the broader population can cause positive disruptions to industries.

Energy

Energy is one of the hottest topics in Australia at the moment with a number of states and territories setting or discussing the setting of clean and renewable energy targets. Many large corporates are investing in clean and renewable energy, claiming the future is green.

Infrastructure

Green buildings are becoming increasingly popular as these buildings often save money in the long-term as well as contribute positively to the environment (or at least have a neutral effect).

Transport

As the population grows in a majority of countries around the world, the issue of traffic and transport is being increasingly discussed. Innovations around electric self-driving cars and driverless and emission-free means of public transport are trending at the moment.

Waste

Reducing waste is a major topic of conversation right now. Reducing waste includes minimising how much waste is produced but also how we can recycle waste for other projects and initiatives.

If you think you have an innovative idea around any of these topics or any topics not listed here which you would like our help with, don’t hesitate to contact us!

This article was originally published on the Strategic Sustainability Consultants website.

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