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Ecosystems - a Friend Or a Foe of The Sustainable Future

The digital transformation brought an enormous amount of benefits but sustainable aspects of this transformation have been overlooked. While observing the rising interest in digital ecosystem creation, we need to make sure that we do not repeat the same mistake. As the ecosystem economy is based on finding wins for all situations including companies, clients, and partners we should add the fourth “win” ie. the environment & social values. Let’s call it a “4x ecosystem win or PCPC approach” = Planet, Customers, Partners & Company.

Different ways but same direction

Different businesses and organizations have unique needs and goals, which means that their approach to sustainability must be tailored accordingly. Here are some examples of the various approaches businesses can take:

1. The Big Picture Approach

Some businesses, such as SAP, take a top-down approach to sustainability. They work with their customers and suppliers to develop strategic plans for sustainability, which involve setting long-term goals, developing new operating models, and investing in innovative technologies and processes. By taking a big-picture approach, these businesses can drive systemic change and create a lasting impact on their industry.

2. The Grassroots Approach

Other businesses, such as Foodia, focus on creating change from the ground up. They work directly with buyers and sellers in their industry to reduce intermediaries and in parallel, they work to support sustainable projects through generated revenue sharing. By focusing on the needs of their customers and providing tangible value, these businesses can create a sustainable ecosystem that is both economically viable and environmentally friendly.

3. The High curated collaborative Approach

Other businesses, like Simplr, focus on building a sustainable ecosystem through highly curated collaboration. They partner exclusively with manufacturers and service providers that can reply to high requirements of sustainable production. Simplr offers products and services by inserting them into the sharing economy to reduce waste and promote resource efficiency. Working together in a collaborative ecosystem can create a self-sustaining network that benefits all parties involved - manufacturers, service providers, and consumers.

“Our approach to build a sustainable ecosystem has been: let’s build the part of the chicken and of the egg in a way that everyone makes or saves money, meaning sustainability cheaper”, shared Angel Bou, CEO of Simplr

4. Corporate hackers is also trying to tackle the sustainability challenge by allowing talented employees to put their skill at disposal of socially and environmentally responsible initiatives. This is an extremely well thought out everybody-wins approach helping to answer the challenge of bigger purpose in daily work, that so many, especially in young generations are looking for. It also helps companies improve their image and allows an access to the tangible pool of talent that wouldn’t be accessible to NGOs or socially targeted projects that are usually underfunded.

5. The Activist Approach

Organizations such as My Petite Planète take an activist approach to promoting sustainability. They work to raise awareness about environmental issues, hold businesses accountable for their environmental impact, and advocate for policy changes to promote sustainability. By creating a strong voice for sustainability, these organizations can help drive change.

The Path Forward: Building a Sustainable Future

Building sustainable ecosystems is an ongoing process that requires the collaboration of businesses, organizations, and individuals alike. Check the graphic below to see some steps we can take to promote sustainability and create a more eco-friendly world.

Between responsibilities and capacities - European market equilibrium

The European market has an important role to play, as European developed countries have their part of historic responsibility in the current emission situation. Additionally, there is an important aspect of the European young generation being more sensitive to questions related to sustainable growth. Young generations are more willing to hold companies accountable for their environmental and social impacts.

Double standards in financing

Financing of sustainable projects still remains a challenge as they are being held to the same profitability expectations that the companies purely focused on their financial performance. This starts to shift thanks to some engaged investors that dispose of an actual vision and willingness to commit. Those investors, however, still remain a minority. On a more positive side, we can observe some of the circular oriented platforms that lead the way for others, reassuring the investors that circular business can also, in time, be extremely profitable.

Written by Marta Agrech, Catherine Schoendorff & Phuong Pham ©TheNTWK


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