The Blue Economy. A new way of designing business.

November 28, 2011 in Appropriate Technology, Random Cool

I consider myself to be pretty up-to-date on interesting energy companies and initiatives, and then sometimes I find myself feeling like a kindergartener in the world of energy – like with 350.org which I only discovered a couple weeks ago.  How did I not hear this massive international movement before?

And that’s today how I feel about Gunter Pauli, ZERI and The Blue Economy.

Gunter Pauli is a Belgian-born economist who is an active entrepreneur and founder of ZERI, Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives, a global network of minds seeking solutions inspired by natural systems, as well as The Blue Economy, a design theory (and book) based on simple and holistic solutions using “what we did not know we had”.  The Blue Economy is ZERI’s philosophy in action – solutions that are practical, affordable, based on what is locally available.

Another strong principle of the ZERI philosophy / Blue Economy approach is that the “waste of one becomes food for another”.  As Gunter Pauli puts it, “Nature does not know the concept of waste; the only species capable of making something no one desires is the human species”.  For a more comprehensive list of The Blue Energy principles, see here.  Or watch the informative video below.

What’s really exciting about ZERI and The Blue Economy is that ZERI identified 100 (blue) innovations, and shares one new detailed business model (including market data and revenue streams) per week open source on The Blue Economy website.  There are over 70 projects exhibited today, including the Humdinger and Opower, two which I’ve written about already, and many incredible projects I’m only discovering now, like insulation paint, vertical wind turbines that can be integrating into existing transmission poles, and growing mushrooms with coffee waste.

The vision is to create an ecosystem of blue businesses to create 100 million sustainable jobs by 2020, and a (blue) zero emissions world by 2050.

If you need some inspiration, check out The Blue Economy website.  And I will most definitely be writing about some of the projects on Watt Now in the future.

Interesting sidenote: Gunter Pauli also helped Bhutan to design an economic development strategy based on Gross National Happiness (GNH).  Here’s another Simple Show video explaining GNH:

Love it.  Thanks Jordan for the heads up.