As the business world increasingly embraces natural capitalism, one asks whether it is the way of the future, in practice or it is no more eco-effective than cleaner production and eco-efficiency. This might be true or false depending on the theoretical and factual interpretation of natural capitalism and cleaner production. Therefore, the analysis examines these concepts to draw facts and make conclusion on an appropriate position.
Natural Capitalism and Cleaner Production
Currently, the debate on natural capitalism inclines towards cleaner production systems, which ensure ecological sustainability. The United Nations and environmental activists emphasize on ecological responsibility, and urging all stakeholders to make sure that the production does not lead to environmental degradation and pollution (Hawken, 2010, p.74). The strength of their argument is based on individual self-responsibility in protecting both the present and future generations.
The other argument is that careless production system cannot even sustain the manufacturing itself, because all the material used originate from the environment. This means, if the environment is not protected and conserved, the production may stop due to inadequate raw materials (Fixico, 2011, p.56). Furthermore, the amount of money that would have been received in the long run might be stopped as the company closes, thus calling for sustainable production.
In practice, sustainable production borrows from “green architects” who do not relent in protecting the natural environment to satisfy the needs of the present generation, without compromising the future (Hawken, 2010, p.87). Various experts anticipate that the future generation will only find production possible if they are able to acquire the natural resources from the environment. In this regard, they advice the people engaged in the production system to be ecologically intelligent and embrace clean technologies, which guarantee environmental safety and sustainability (Hawken, 2010, p.101).
Environmentalists also believed that natural capitalism was the new wave of industrial revolution, in which environmental protection was more emphasized than profit making (Hawken, Reinout and Hunter, 2008, p.82). However, it does not mean that the manufacturers should make losses, only to protect the environment, but they have to be environmentally sensitive during the production.
On the other hand, eco-efficiency ensures that the companies use the natural resources in an economical way to prevent more environmental depletion (Heijungs and Sangwon, 2010, p.63). Just as the natural capitalism was an edge in industrial production, eco-efficiency could be an improvement in the manufacturing system. Studies show that eco-efficiency in production conserves the environment greatly, because the industries adopting this mode of production will economically use the resources slowly, persistently and be able to overuse the raw materials after a long time without heavy destruction of the environment (Heijungs and Sangwon, 2010, p.73). Similarly, the production system ensures that the products are fully utilized to minimize the amount of wastes. Besides, wastes are used to manufacture other products so that the natural resource is completely converted to proper usage. For example, crude oil is purified to produce gasoline and petrol, while the wastes are used to produce kerosene and diesel (Fixico, 2011, p.65). This kind of production ensures that the extraction of crude oil is slow, persistent and environmentally friendly. Moreover, this production system increases creativity since the producers expect limited amount of wastes, and if possible, the resource are utilized completely (Hawken, Reinout and Hunter, 2008, p.98). Therefore, the production should be regenerative instead of depletive.
In summary, prudent and complete use of natural resources is the best way to ensure environmental sustainability. This justifies the environmentalists’ concern about natural capitalism eco-efficiency. The environmentalists usually advice the people and companies that engage in the production system to be ecologically intelligent and apply clean technologies, which are more reliable and ensure that there are environmental safety and sustainability for the future. Therefore, the statement, “natural capitalism is the way of the future, in practice, it is no more eco-effective than cleaner production and eco-efficiency” is true.