One of the most amazing dimensions that the human being has is the ability to reinvent himself and formulate new concepts and ideas that allow him to continue progressing and improving, allowing him to apply solutions to present problems in a simpler way than it might seem. initially. One of these cases is found in natural capitalism, an economic proposal that reinvents traditional industrial capitalism in light of the new situation in which we find ourselves as a result of the environmental impact that human activity has had on the planet since the Industrial Revolution. to the present day.
What is natural capitalism
Natural capitalism is a proposal promoted by professors Paul Hawken and Amory Lovins, whose main thesis affirms that it is necessary to move from the consumer economy to the service economy and reinvest the benefits in the improvement and implementation of natural resources .
This theory modifies the current prevailing economic model in which, traditional capitalism , offers consumer goods that involve the production of garbage and waste substances without taking into account natural capital as part of the equation that measures expenses and costs. income. On the contrary, the vision of natural capitalism includes the natural capital resulting from the action as part of the equation in the balance of results, as well as the effects that each economic action has on society, which perceives this type of kinder capitalism than industrial capitalism, since it benefits directly and indirectly from its actions.
The natural capitalism that these American professors propose is based on 4 principles , which, in practice, must be applied in the form of these 4 phases of natural capitalism :
Phase 1: Increase the productivity of natural resources
This first phase of natural capitalism is characterized by increasing the efficiency of available natural resources . In this way, making use of the same amount of energy or raw material, it is possible to satisfy the needs of a much larger group of customers.
Phase 2: Nature-Inspired Cycle Production Systems
The second phase or principle of natural capitalism is characterized by the elimination of waste or garbage , taking nature as inspiration. In the natural world, there is no waste, but what some organisms discard is used by others for their own benefit. These, in turn, produce waste that is used by other organisms, which is repeated until the last waste is used by the first organisms, thus completing the circle and cycle of production. Natural capitalism proposes that human economic activities are inspired by this model, so that the waste and garbage of one economic activity can be used by others, until the complete cycle is completed.
Phase 3: Model based on solutions rather than sales
Third, natural capitalism proposes that it is necessary to rethink the economic model to move from the economy of industrial capitalism to natural capitalism . In this way, instead of acquiring products (much more expensive in environmental terms), services are acquired. An example of this would be buying a car, which would be a product, or buying a displacement, which would be a service. This can be applied through different forms of transport or the use of shared vehicles, which has a lower environmental impact and a greater efficiency of available resources.
Phase 4: Account for natural capital as part of total capital
The last phase consists of changing the asset model and including, in those assets, natural capital, both the initial capital and that generated from the activity carried out. In this way, the benefits of economic activity are not only monetary, but also environmental and social, which have to be taken into account as assets at the same level as the monetary assets of the company.
Everything suggests that natural capitalism has a long and prosperous future ahead of it. In fact, more and more companies are applying its principles, since they are aware that the impact that their activity generates on the environment cannot be measured solely in monetary terms.
In addition, another of the benefits of applying natural capitalism to businesses is that they are more attractive to customers, who feel directly benefited from choosing this type of brands or companies compared to those that only have a traditional monetary approach. This makes them companies with a larger audience even though the initial monetary benefits may not be as abundant as companies that are stuck in the consumer model rather than the service model. However, given that the economic benefits are measured both in monetary, environmental and social terms, finally, the benefits are greater, both due to the greater amount of assets that count in the equation and the greater influx of public that they receive.