The starting point might be new technological innovations in the consumer space such as CFL bulbs or Solar panels. CFL bulbs consume almost 20% electricity than a conventional bulb and Solar panels process electricity from sunlight which may be sufficient on a clear day for a household needs. Demand generation from a new consumer who looks at everything through a green lens is expected to provide the initial strength. It could even be something as simple as a soap wrapper or the appliances he uses or the house he built. All this is expected to add up and, in its mysterious ways, have some beneficial impact on the economy. We view the green sector where IT/software was in the early 90s. At that time, every industry realized that it is important to create a competitive advantage. People are beginning to look at the green sector and the benefits it has to offer in the same way.
The entrepreneur has already started noticing companies like Suzlon, Moser Baer, Enercon, among others, in the renewable energy space. In irrigation and water pumping efficiency sectors, there is a Shakti Motors, Jain Irrigation, among others and in lighting energy efficiency there is Banyan, Phoenix and many more.
Although there are many entrepreneurs in the green sector, fuel efficiency, boiler energy efficiency sector have significant untapped potential. Huge opportunities for achieving electrical energy efficiency in the areas of demand, transmission and distribution also lie unexplored. Opportunities in water and solid waste management, too, are significant even as land rejuvenation in urban and rural areas has yet not been harnessed.
What is promising about the green sector is its potential to outgrow the IT sector in terms of employment generation, wealth creation and distribution. ITs contribution to the economy has undoubtedly been immense, whether it is in terms of employment created, or dollars earned, or even the market caps of its leading players. But the real thriller will be watching how the green sector fortifies the economy. There is no doubt that it will be the best IT, for sure. Potentially the green economy can constitute 50% of the global GDP by 2050. For India, which is already sitting on over 54 million issued carbon credits
(which can be exchanged for money) the contribution could be even bigger.
It is estimated that the green sector could be employing a minimum of 5,000 -10,000 people a year. This is only going to increase in the near future. Moreover, unlike IT, the green space requires lower qualifications and in areas such as bio-mass, a job market exists for even unskilled laborers. As this sector is likely to address the lower portions of the pyramid, it may generate relatively more employment and also be more inclusive.
What will clearly give this sector a leg up beyond its current activist and fuzzy image is its growing mass appeal at the household level. There’s some realization in India Inc that enlightened consumers would prefer products from environmentally conscious companies. That has forced global giant Unilever to develop a new process called “brand Imprint” to enable a full analysis of social, economic and environmental issues relevant to each of its brands. Nokia is making some of its phones with bio-covers that are made with over 50% renewable matter. Even the packaging has over half of recyclable material, and its chargers are made more efficient.
‘Green’ means operating machines which do not pollute or in short will not contaminate the atmosphere. Cars which run on electricity (batteries, fuel cells etc.,) are immediate examples which come to mind. Green cars are already attracting buyers.
And so are green buildings. Hotels are proudly advertising as ‘Eco hotel’ etc. Even the builders are advertising for sale of apartments in their buildings mentioning them as ‘Green buildings.
Here again, the consumer is driving companies to invest in R&D to come up with longer lasting batteries for green cars which will pinch a little less on the consumer’s pocket. All these changes are expected to eventually spin off a host of new business options for entrepreneurs, whether they are in science and technology, research or communications. Just like the birth of the automobile have given rise to a number of connected duties (such as, components, gas stations), the green space is also expected to create a host of new reacted industries. At the services end, there could be renewed investment in marketing initiatives. Talking point websites have already mushroomed.