Sustainable Wealth and Prosperity Creation

Excessive industrialization is creating enormous economic gaps, chaos and unequal societies that are approaching dangerous limits. Simultaneously, large quantities of residues, waste and ecological footprints have been created in detriment to the natural environment and the quality of life of most of the planet’s population, mainly in developing regions. This presents most innovators with a new dilemma: Invest in sustainable long-term projects with low economic returns or innovate in short-term incremental production and negotiate the environmental harm caused by an excessive industrialization. In fact, a significant milestone emerges from these arguments. Somehow, we must reverse the perverse cycle created by industrialization and transform the current ecological footprint into valuable assets, for all subsystems of the biosphere. A proposal has been designed to go beyond sustainability and create sustainable wealth, based on the modification of the conventional growth paradigm, that can be used to regenerate regional natural resources and simultaneously be economically competitive and capable of offering important social benefits to the community. The proposed framework, SWIT (Sustainable Wealth creation based on Innovation and Technology) has been developed to provide multiple businesses of zero-value residue industrial ecology processes (ZRIES), inserted into circular value ecosystems (CVES), all managed and governed by a sustainable sharing value system for the benefit of a community.

The SWIT’s systemic approach provides the conditions for the interaction of procedures at three levels of complexity:

  • Product-residues level.The circularization of linear product chains; based on a zero-value residue industrial ecology system (ZRIES)
  • Clusters level. The extended regional circular value eco-system (CVES);
  • Regional level.The third level is the sustainable regional sharing value system.

The integration of the three concepts generates a “sustainable increasing returns” synergy that is the result of a circular dynamics among all stakeholders (economy, ecology and society), the proper institutions (academy, government, innovation systems, etc) and regional enablers (technology, policies, etc) toward a sustainable wealth creation for all regional stakeholders.

  • References:
  • Scheel, C., (2016). Beyond sustainability. Transforming industrial zero-valued residues into increasing economic returns. Journal of Cleaner Production. 131(9), May. 376-386. ISNN: 0959-6526.