Sustainability is a scientific concept that involves both biology and physics and describes the limits that society has overtime to grow and continue to prosper. Hawken’s believes that the economy in its correct state will eventually deplete all its natural resources becoming non-existent.
Capitalism will always be financially profitable and we can’t continue to fool ourselves into thinking we will never run out of resources to make our loves more comfortable and efficient.
We can create an economy that can be sustainable forever just by understanding and recognizing our dependence on natural resources. This is the vision of Paul Hawkens; he believes we must find ways to use our natural resources more efficiently while replenishing them at the same time.
The author advocates assigning private property rights to national resources. He also believes this will entice owners to care more for the environment in order to see continuous profits. There are four basic principles that are needed in order to achieve this:
1. Radical Source Productivity-You are making more for less, using less or recycled materials which produces less waste.
2. Biomimicry-Designing systems around nature and learning from it.
3. Service and Flow Economy-Deliver a continuous flow of service and value. If customers see a corporation.
4. Invest in Natural Capital-Corporations need to become more aware of the natural resources they use and find efficient ways to use and replenish them. They then become socially responsible.
Corporations need to understand the environment and ways to transform their production habits in order to become more efficient at using our natural resources. This becomes their fiduciary duty. One road block to sustainability is cost and price.
Hawkens advocates for state government only and that the federal government should have more subsidizes to the renewable energy industry. As it stands now subsidizes are provided to the Cuban fuel industry and the author is definitely for the separation of business and state. Government and private industry need to redirect the dollars that are currently designated toward industrial capital and reinvest that money in natural and human capital.
He also believes that by assigning private property rights to natural resources is a way to ensure efficient use of those very resources that promotes sustainability. If we believe in our investments we will be more inclined to want to continue to see profits. Maximizing our profits and replenishing our natural resources will become a habit by consistency being positively reinforced.
Corporations need to be educated on the efficient use of natural resources. They have the ability to be leaders and need to ensure that all employees are of the same mind set. The media can be used to their advantage and research is showing that customers are more inclined to purchase products from companies that are trying to leave less of a carbon footprint. Actively engaging their communities and educating local people on recycling and renewable energy, which is critical to saving our natural resources.
In order to preserve our national resources I think it’s important to establish some type of requirement for social responsibility (The key to getting everyone on board is through education). Corporations that are socially responsible will continue