How Innovation Drives Sustainability
27th June 2019
Following on from our recent Breakfast Club event on 19th June, we want to continue our focus on sustainability. Specifically, we’re talking about how innovation can drive sustainability forward, making it more attainable and more exciting, opening up new possibilities for sustainable ventures and developments.
A sustainable society
Sustainability, particularly in dense urban environments, almost seems like an impossible dream. How can a city, entrenched in a largely disposable way of thinking, move to a sustainable way of life? The products we use, the way we engage with our environment and how we fundamentally think about these things can be rigid, leaving little room for change. However, through innovation both on a small and large scale, we can embrace sustainability and, more importantly, make it work for us.
When talking about innovation, we look at what we have already and think ‘how can we make this better?’ Usually, in a business or commercial setting, innovation is driven by profit, finding a way to make a product technically better to appeal to more consumers.
But when we look at innovation through the lens of sustainability, we can find ways of taking essential systems, products and lifestyle choices and making them more forward-thinking; more environmentally conscious. There is often trepidation when it comes to changes like this, but the results can be extraordinary. Quality of life, for us and our environment, can both benefit.
Waste into opportunity
We waste a lot as a society. The dependency on single-use plastic has been well documented, and while more and more people are becoming more environmentally aware, taking these concerns more seriously, there has yet to be a major shift towards sustainability. Much of that is likely due to the fact that someone, be it governments or big businesses, needs to take the first leap and make a substantial change. But there are examples out there which bring promise for a sustainable future.
One such example is ‘bio-bean’, a biofuel company owned by Arthur Kay — award-winning urban designer — which turns waste coffee grounds into efficient biofuels. Coffee is a relevant, modern example of how current lifestyle trends can be both preserved and evolved. People drink a lot of coffee. Cities and urban areas — which Kay sees as the focal point for sustainable change — are covered in coffee shops. But coffee waste in the UK equates to over 500,000 tonnes. Kay’s company, bio-bean, can save 6.8 tonnes in carbon emissions per ton of coffee waste processed. From the waste, biomass pellets and biodiesel are produced, creating sustainable products out of one of modern life’s most common commodities.
In bio-bean, Kay has found the right balance, turning one of the most common exemplars of a disposable society into something that can fuel the future.
Urban change both large and small
Innovations might begin with small changes to routines or ways of working. In a single company, a sustainable practice can be as simple as eliminating paper waste. But sustainable innovation will be both small and large. By observing how urban spaces work and what makes cities tick, you can begin to see ways in which to adapt structures within the entire urban framework.
Another initiative developed by Arthur Kay, SKYROOM TM, builds low-cost, high quality, eco friendly homes for key urban workers close to their workplace. This helps to cut out waste involved with transport and creates a more sustainable home life for these workers. In the future, it may well be commonplace to see schemes like this being adopted. By first introducing sustainable measures in an industrial sense, they can then be integrated into public and private life. Eco homes are becoming more viable even now, and by encouraging innovation, or looking first to sustainable solutions rather than ‘quick wins’, we could see our urban spaces become more efficient as a result.
It could take a while — sweeping, ingrained change always does — but by thinking about it now, and with investment and passion coming from entrepreneurs such as Kay, and those he supports, a sustainable future seems more attainable than ever.
Kruger Cowne represents a number of leading sustainability and environmental experts, including Arthur Kay, who can share their knowledge and experience with you and your audience. Whether it’s to raise awareness of this important topic, or to begin moving towards a more sustainable way of working in your company, our environmental and green issues speakers can engage, educate and inspire. To find out more, simply contact Kruger Cowne today.