Towards a sustainability strategy Borland et al. (2011) mentioned an interesting, but easy case example from a manufacture in China.
Company X is manufacture of waxes sold to other manufacturers to make consumer wax products. It became concernced because the effluent water was killing flora and fauna in the nearby lake which was also a major tourist attraction on popular destination for the locals. Then the company decided to changed the technology and processing of the was product. Through this new technology the company could eliminate acids and chlorine from processing.Thus, the waste water was no longer contaminated which reduced the costs of disposal of the contaminents. Moreover the water is now continously re-circulated in the manufacturing process, saving the company money on its water bill. By forcing further improvements company X have earned the title of one of China’s most innovatice chemical companies with a technology patent. Through their investemts they gained sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace with increased sales worldwide (Borland et al.
, 2011). This case study shows that through technology developments companies can be more environmental friendly on the one side and create a competitive advantage on the other side, and thus a win-win situation has been created.This case can also be applied to the green energy industry. Creating more efficient technologies saving energy and reduce waste effects the environment positively and is an very important approach towards sustainability .This can lead to competitive advantages resulting in higher profits and improvement in reputation.
Chen at al. (2006) and Chen (2008a, 2008b, 2011) published several research papers concerning enhancing a new concept of environnmental management and has shown that this can result in a green competitive advantage. Therefore supporting the energy supply with renewable-energies should not be seen as an costly investment, but as an investment towards corporate and environmental sustainability.Summary and ConclusionThe centered raw material in this paper is clearly crude oil. Supporting green energy supply decreases the demand for oil, although it has been evidently shown that all oil reserves will be explored by future generations.
The fact that many products contain ingredients extracted from oil and not only our transportation system is dependent on this raw material substantiate this certainty. Peak-oil and peak-coal will be reached sometime therefore reducing the dependence of fossil fuels is one of the most important aspect for sustainability. Moreover reducing the demand for oil will reduce dependence from oil importing countries, such as Germany, and decrease the risk come into existence by the regional concentration by crude oil and natural gas. Collier and Hoeffler (2001) showed in their empirical research study in intensive impact of natural resources concerning wars and civil wars.
Hereby they came to the result that the likelihood wihout natural resources is at about 0,5%, but if oil is major export good the likelihood rises up to 40%. What affects civil wars on environment, economy and society is very likely to be common notion and needs a elaboration for itself and therefore will not be described in detail. Furtermore the increasing transportation of fossil fuels in pipelines or with oil tankers imply arising risks.First, pipelines a crossing nations and continents and also political unstable regions. The risk using pipelines as pressuring agents in international conflicts is likely to happen in the future and oil spills because of corrosion of these pipelines are likely to rise. Second, oil shipments are also implying two risks. One is the environmental impact, as seen by the oil spill of Exxon Valdez in Alaska. The other risk are increasing pirate attacks, especially in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali coast.
Moreover the exploration of non-conventional oil fields have a massive impact on environment and an immense use of water to make these fossil fuels accessible.Supporting green energy and therefore reduce C02 emissions have also impact on environment itself. Rising sea levels, deforestation, desertification, rising epidemics and increasing amount of climate refugees are commonly known aftereffects of global warming and reducing emissions by green energy supply would minimize this aftereffects to a certain level. But reducing C02 emissions and the demand for oil also imply opportunities. Chen et al.
(2006) showed in this and other publications that improved technologies can result in green competitive advantage, higher profits and reputation.The fight for making fossils fuels accessible, but also the likelihood for increasing conflicts and wars is explained by the massive dependence on oil and energy concerning economic growth and welfare. As seen in BP’s Statistal Review of World Energy (2011) the US is already holding back its national fossil fuel sources very likely to be a consequence for the ability to satisfy future requirements of oil. As mentioned, scientists opinion about the peak-oil are going far apart. The increasing scarcity of oil implicate that nations will even become more secretive about the size of their reserves, by withholding important geological information. This is already common practice among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries because their production quotas and consequently revenues are linked to the size of their reserves (Howard, 2009).Furthermore the development of non-conventional oil fields give evident to the fact that easy accessible oil fields have already been exploited to a certain amount. The footrace for raw materials have already begun decades ago, and will find its peak in the future, sooner or later.
Therefore supporting green energy will minimize the aftereffects, decrease the usage and demand for oil and other fossil fuels to attain sustainability for future generations. But what can governments, cooperations , non-governmental organizations and consumers do to support non-renewable energy? Some ideas will be given in the coming paragraph of future implications and ideas.Future Implications and Ideas1. As mentioned in the early beginning of this elaboration laws, regulation, policies and incentives have to be given my governments to induce investments in renewable-energy supply. Corporations already invested in the last few years in for example nuclear plants or other power plants using non-renewable fossil fuels to generate power are likely to postpone investments to make their present power plants profitable as long as possible. This is especially for nuclear plants the case. Once invested in a nuclear plant maintenance costs are relatively low. Once the Break-Even-Points is reached, the company’s profit is almost the amount of sold generated power.
Therefore, as seen by Germany’s nuclear abandonement by 2022, political decisions to support renewable-energy supply are mandatory.2. The exploitation of oil fields in especially poor regions in our world, for example in Nigeria, Africa, has to be closely observed by the local government to minimize the impact on environment and society. Corruption in these vulnerable regions often occur, therefore international help is needed to force the extracting oil companies to stick to rules that have been made.
Impacts on health and society are clearly visible and chronic pollution-related diseases are increasing intensively. Moreover the profits are often remain in this countries only in a certain amount and in pockets from only a few people. A renewable energy supply in these regions is likely to be an unreached goal for many years.
Unstable governmental conditions and broke countries, where fossil fuels are massively exported, are prosperous regions for huge environmental and societal problems, such as contamintated ground-water or civil wars. Collier and Hoeffler (2000) showed that in their empirical study, wherein the result was that the likelihood of civil wars rises in countries where oil is the major export good up to 40%. Concerning the Niger Delta and the environmental impact of oil minings in these regions the research paper from Dadiowei (2009) gives more and closer information about this topic.3.
Huge environmental impacts by the exploitation of especially oil are not only seen in poor regions. Last years Deepwater Horizon’s (BP) blowout was a huge concern all over the world. But still BP is going to explore the Alaskan regions and is planning to produce oil in this very vulnerable environment as soon as possible. BP’s newest offshore venture is expected to break long-distance drilling records and yield up to 40,000 barrels of oil a day by 2013 (Burke and Medred, 2010). Obviously political decisions about this project have been made before the unforeseen blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
Unfortunately much information is about this operation is off the record, although open to the public.The media has to strenghen its position in this point to decrease the possibilitiy of another environmental disaster. As seen through the massive problems BP had to stop the oil spill in this ultra-deepwater oil drilling rig, emergency plans lack in their reliabilty. Therefore risky projects like the “Operation Liberty”, BP’s name for the Alaskan Operation, have to step back until technologies and emergency plans are mature, if at all maturity in this almost impenetrable regions is achievable. The neediness for oil has to be reduced and supporting renewables is the first step. Closer information to BP’s operation in their official publication “Reaching Out To Liberty”(2008).4.
Consumers of energy, such as governments, companies and the general public can influence future developments of energy supply. By chosing energy only generated by renewable-energy power plants power supply companies can be forced to make new investments. The demand for power generated by nuclear plants or fossil fuel power plants is already decreasing around the world. A consequence of the recent Fukushima nuclear fuel melt in March 2011. Publications, such as “Top 20 Green Power Parners” in America, released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are supporting this development.
5. Concerning quality management a new approach is also suggested. Juran, who occupies one of the leading positions concerning quality management, has defined quality as “fitness for use”, which scientists nowadays still see as the closest definition to describe the term quality (Bisgaard, 2008). The quality of products and processes has to be, because of ecological and environmental-friendly reasons, newly defined and interpreted. Looking at the environmental problems and impacts, an only product-focused “fitness for use” point of view seems outdated and insufficient. Efficient energy use and environmental friendly products and processes should be centered in the new definition of quality.6.
Chen (2006, 2008a, 2008b, 2011) has shown in his empircal research studies that supporting green innovation and technologies can lead to green competitive advantage. Therefore investing in more efficient technologies and environmental protective innovations shouldn’t be seen only as a marketing instrument or short-term approach. It can be implemented in a company’s strategic guideline and result in competitive advantage, higher profits and reputation.