INTRODUCTION:The a concern for the environment. It refers to

INTRODUCTION:The current state of environmental degradation is becoming life-threatening with the passage of time. The uncurbed growth of industrialization has also been held culprit for the reckless exploitation of limited resources and disturbing the critical ecological balance. Industrialization at the cost of environment is manifesting itself now in grave forms as climate change and pollution, threatening the very existence of mankind. The immediate call of the hour is to mend our ways in order to restore ecological balance and attain sustainable development. The traditional business model with the singular objective of maximum profit is falling short to fulfil its environmental responsibilities and thus required is a new and modified approach to address both profit and planet. The paper begins with an exploration into the conceptual meaning of ecopreneurship and a brief review of ecopreneurship as an emerging discipline. The main body following a brief literature review elaborates on the principles, drivers, typologies and successful instances of ecopreneurship. The conclusion incorporates exhaustive suggestions to develop and foster ecopreneurship.Objectives of Paper:To elaborate and understand the area of ecopreneurshipTo analyse its practical viabilityTo understand its role in sustainable development.Methodology:The methodology relies on secondary data sources as journals, articles, books, websites etc.Meaning of Ecopreneurship:Ecopreneurship like several other management terms is easy to understand but difficult to explain. The concept is fairly infant in origin but promising and desirable. Ecopreneurship is often misunderstood and misjudged. Ecopreneurship or green entrepreneurship (Schaper, 2002) or enviropreneurship (Keogh & Polosky, 1998) is the activity of entrepreneurship combined with a concern for the environment. It refers to the process of applying entrepreneurial principles to solve environmental problems and operate in a sustainable manner. An ecopreneur is a person whose business efforts are not only driven by profit, but also by a concern for the environment (Schuyler 1998). Ecopreneurship can be explained as an “existential form of business behaviour committed to sustainability” (Isaac 2002). “Ecopreneurship refers to individuals/institutions that attempt to popularize eco-friendly ideas and innovation either through market or non-market routes” (Pastakia 1998)Ecopreneurship is different from social entrepreneurship which focuses on enhancing the well-being of society and is also different from sustainability entrepreneurship which goes beyond social and eco-entrepreneurship by taking into consideration an even comprehensive range of the triple bottom line approach. Ecopreneurship is an improvement over the traditional business model by taking into account additional goals of sustainability and environmental preservation.Ecopreneurship involves looking for newer business opportunities in the area of sustainability, transforming it into a business plan and executing it. Adoption of eco-friendly plan opens a new horizon of opportunities and those identifying and exploiting these opportunities are called ecopreneur.Literature Review:Michael Schafer (2010) carried out a wide-ranging review on ecopreneurship as component of his book”Making Ecopreneurs:  Developing Sustainable Entrepreneurship”. The following excerpt outlines thetrajectory of the discipline as presented by various scholars:”In the early 1970s, Harvard Business Review ran a pioneering article arguing that the ‘ecology movement’ could provide profitable new markets for business expansion rather than simply being a drain on economic activity (Quinn 1971). By the late 1980s, this theme had begun to become more prominent. Elkington and Burke (1989), for example, argued that innovative business solutions could be used not only to improve the environment but also to provide the basis for new business prospects overlooked by mainstream firms. In the early 1990s, a more explicit examination of environmental entrepreneurship began to emerge, with authors such as Bennett (1991), Berle (1991) and Blue (1990) beginning to employ the terms ‘environmental entrepreneur’, ‘green entrepreneur,’ ‘eco-entrepreneur’ and its derivation ‘ecopreneur’.” “After a hiatus during the mid-1990s, the concept was examined again, by, among others, Anderson and Leal (1997), Andersen (1998), Hostager et al. (1998), Isaak (1998), Keogh and Polonsky (1998), Adeoti (2000), Larson (2000) and Kyrö (2001) among others. As these papers syndicate, there is now a small but growing body of literature on the topic of ecopreneurship.This interest has also begun to spill over into the broader entrepreneurship discipline (Schaper 2002), with even the role of environmental issues and sustainability slowly starting to become incorporated into some conventional texts on entrepreneurship (see e.g. Kuratko and Hodgetts 2001; Kao et al. 2002).”In a paper on ecopreneurship in India (Pastakia 2010), the author threw light on the role and significance of ecopreneurship in identifying new sustainable and eco-friendly business opportunities.Apart from written academics, there have been initiatives designed to foster and promote ecopreneurship in practicality. A number of micro-finance units and schemes have been brought across the world to fund and support the green enterprises. Nevertheless, much more is still left to comprehend about ecopreneurship both in academic and practical outlook.Principles of Ecopreneurship:     Principle of Energy and Resource Use Efficiency-This implies the minimization of waste production and maximizing its reuse in order to maximize productivity and bring down cost.   The principle of Ecosystem Services:The ecosystem by providing additional services in the areas of sustainability and making green business opportunities motivate and attract businesses to make a profit by protecting the environment. The principle of Natural Step:A sustainable society must not interrupt or disturb the natural process and diversity in order to extract extra benefits and overexploit the resources. The principle of Eco-Efficiency and Eco-Effectiveness:The term was originally coined by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development as one of the methods of decreasing wastes. It reflects cradle-to-cradle thinking i.e. waste of one product should be used as raw material of another.Drivers of Ecopreneurship:Ecopreneurial model of business has emerged due to certain factors as follows:Climate Change- The irresponsible human activities and industrialization without any environmental concerns are manifesting as climate change which is a threat to human lives. Business cannot be stopped to save the planet but can be changed to incorporate environmental concerns and this lead to the development of ecopreneurship.Resources Scarcity- The resources provided by Mother Nature are limited and extinguishing at a faster pace due to overexploitation to fulfil increasing demands. It is required to develop alternatives to renewable resources. Over a quarter of world’s land area has been degraded as a result of soil erosion, salinisation, and forest erosion. Land degradation also destroys the lives of half a billion mostly poor people who depend on forests and agricultural activities. The loss in land productivity stands to threaten sustainable development, food and water security and even civil conflicts.(World Resource Institute, Roots of Prosperity 2017)Population Growth – Ecopreneurs realize that the earth’s limited resources have to be utilized to fulfil the ever-increasing demands of growing population. Increasing population exerts a higher pressure on resources and this is where ecopreneurs come into play. They develop innovative methods to acquire maximum possible benefits from available resource and discover renewable alternatives to maintain the ecological balance. The world’s population is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050( World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision). Increasing population needs has to be fulfilled by using available resources which are also diminishing at an alarming rate. Ecopreneurship and other sustainable ways, therefore, have to be adopted for survival.Advantages and Disadvantages to an Ecopreneur Firm:Ecopreneurship is as a matter of fact advantageous to business in many ways. Business ventures based on sustainability and ecopreneurship acquire the following advantages:Lower dependence on renewable resources.More opportunities in market and focus on eco-niche.Attraction and retention of skilled and environmentally aware people.Customers’ preference for non-eco-friendly firms.Free advertising and reputation as eco-concerned firm.Lower cost of eliminating and reducing possible wastages.Lower government and environmentalist intervention.Fulfillment of corporate social responsibility.Lesser public scrutiny and social legislation.Competitive advantage over unsustainable firms.Tax rebate and benefits.     Ecopreneurial firms, however, are also faced with certain challenges as follows:Employing latest technology which might incur high initial installation.Conversion to eco-friendly methods might take time.Greenwashing .i.e. firms falsely presenting oneself ads sustainable to get consumers preference which might backlash later.Ecopreneur Typology:         Some of the Ecopreneurial typologies is as follows: Green business and green-green business (Robert Isaak 2002)Social and Commercial entrepreneur  (Pastakia1998)Innovative opportunist, accidental, visionary, ethical maverick  (Walley and Taylor 2002)Typologies of Ecopreneur:ReferenceTypes of EcopreneurIsaak(2002)Green BusinessOriginally did not start as a green business but later on after discovering the advantages and benefits converted to a green one. Green-Green BusinessA start-up designed to be green and eco-friendly in all its products and processes.Pastakia (1998)Commercial EcopreneurIndividuals/Organisations which seek to maximize personal gains by identifying green business opportunities.Social Ecopreneur-Those who seek to promote eco-friendly ideas and innovations either through market route or non-market route.Walley and Taylor(2004)      Innovative Opportunist:An entrepreneur with economic motive who identifies and business opportunity that happens to be green and eco-friendly.Visionary Entrepreneur:Entrepreneur driven primarily by environmental and social concerns.Ethical Maverick:An entrepreneur with sustainability objective, however, the most significant motivation for business formation has been friends, networks etc rather a vision of changing the world.Accidental Entrepreneur:Entrepreneur motivated by friends and family rather market opportunities to start a business and possess financial motives.Linnanen (2002)Self-Employer:Nature-oriented enterprises such as eco-tourism with low financial and drive and change drive.Opportunist:These entrepreneurs have low desire for changing the world but high financial objectives and are involved in environmental technologies to conserve the planet.Non-profit Business:These entrepreneurs have the low financial drive but work for changing the world.Successful Idealist:As the name suggests these are ideal people with the high desire of changing the world as well as high financial drive.Role of Ecopreneurship in Sustainable Development:Sustainable development is more of a necessity than a choice at the present juncture of time. Reckless exploitation of limited resources is now leading us towards an era of scarcity and fatal natural disasters. Sustainable development as defined by the Brundland Report 1987 refers to “a new era of economic growth that is forceful and at the same time socially and environmentally sustainable; an economy is said to be sustainable if it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs” The three dimensions of sustainability are as follows:Source: en.wikipedia.orgSustainability is often misunderstood is not reducing the businesses ability to make a profit rather is about the integration of environmental concerns with profit concerns. Business is a part of environment exists within its macro framework and with earth forced to stretch its limits to provide for industrial raw material, the time is not far when the entire human race would pay for its environmental myopia and repercussions of ignoring the long-term welfare objectives.Business activities such as manufacturing and transportation contribute largely towards environmental degradation. The key to a sustainable future, therefore, lies with the business community itself. Adoption of sustainable practices in economic activities would surely bring down the damage to the planet. Business enterprises should fulfil their social and environmental obligations in the process of profit making. By shifting to more renewable resources and eco-friendly practices business enterprise can bring about considerable waves of change. Sustainable development is not another expense on an organization’s income statement rather opens up an additional range of new and untapped opportunities in the area of eco-entrepreneurship. The transformation to the sustainable framework would stand to offer several niches which can successfully identify and served.Successful Ecopreneurship ventures in India:Since past few decades the new breed of entrepreneur is undertaking on sustainable ventures and successfully operating it. Examples of such few ventures are as follows:Waste-Venture:This Delhi based startup launched in 2011 is a waste management social enterprise which takes up the waste collection and processes it into organic compost. Since 2013 it has averted over 3000 tons of waste from Indian dumpsites.Fourth Partner Energy:It is a renewable energy services company which provides designing, engineering and installation of rooftop solar systems.Priti International:This firm was founded by Hritesh Lohiya in 2005 and recycles industrial and consumer waste into useful products such as handbags, furniture, lamps etc.D & D Ecotech Services:It was founded back in 2005 to solve the water crisis. It assists households and organisations to rainwater harvesting and also designs its own rainwater structures based on clients’ specifications. The Living Greens:This Jaipur based company founded by Prateek Tiwari; an agriculture engineer helps people to set up rooftop farms and kitchen gardens. It is one the first urban farming companies in India.Suggestions to Foster Ecopreneurship:Providing quality and reliable information to ecopreneur:Information is power. Without an adequate and appropriate set of information, it becomes difficult for new entrepreneurs to enter the area and present ones to excel in it. Lack of adequate and quality information is a barrier to ecopreneurship. Since the area demands knowledge about latest technology and techniques in order to adopt a sustainable way of business, it is imperative to provide quality and trusted sources of information.Collaboration among ecopreneur and innovation intermediaries:Collaboration and networking among innovation intermediaries such as universities, NGOs, government, local authorities etc would assist the potential ecopreneurs to gain necessary information and motivation in the areas of identification of new business areas, funding, consultations etc and facilitate incorporation of new ecopreneur firms.Facilitate funding:The availability and access to funds are decisive in for ecopreneurs. A considerable fund is required to fulfil development and execution cost of new green products and services. Availability of finance is thus as critical as innovation in the area of ecopreneurship.Changing tax incentives making it favourable towards green firms and unfavourable for unsustainable firms:Government authorities can play a crucial role in encouraging greener business by bending the taxation system in the favour of green products. The establishment of green business would accelerate if it gets due attention and relaxation in tax by the government.Incentives and awareness to customers:Consumers are the kings of the market. Ecopreneur firms can sustain in the market only when their product is well accepted by the consumers. Consumers thus play a decisive role in the excellence or exit of eco firms in the market. Consumers should be aware regarding the harmful effects of environmentally hazardous products on their lives and planet in order to gain acceptance and popularity of eco-friendly ones. The price of eco-friendly products must be within the purchasing power of customers so as to boost its demands and encourage more and more ecopreneurs firms.Public campaigns to spread awareness regarding sustainable and unsustainable firms:Awareness is the key to sustainable development. Public campaigns should be organized to spread awareness about environmental degradation and preservation and how green businesses can mitigate these damages. This would surely bring more entrepreneurs in the area and promote green consumerism.Subsidies for eco-friendly products making it affordable and cost competitive with others:The price of a product plays an important role in its acceptance or rejection. In order to popularize green products, governments should offer subsidies to keep the prices competitive in the market to consumers and ensure an adequate profit to ecopreneur firms.Ecoprenerial Education:Incorporating ecoprenerial education within the framework of entrepreneurship is necessary to in order to expose students to this new area and issues and challenges of sustainability.Conclusion:The Malthusian nightmare of resource scarcity might turn into an unfortunate reality if we do not adopt sustainable practices well in time. Climate change is real and it is happening in a lethal way than ever. Eco-friendly products and technology have become imperative to sustain life on earth. Ecopreneurship if adopted properly can be the solution to numerous challenges faced by the business and society today. It is an exciting area to explore and even relevant if adopted. The discipline needs further explanation and awareness to gain popularity in the business corridors. Ecopreneurship is about harnessing creativity and initiative with the commitment to save our only planet.Ignoring environmental well being is like cutting the woods of the boat we are swimming in, and once the boat sinks we all go down with it. Thus the choice before us is clear. We have all that is needed to save the planet, we possess the technology and the knowledge, however, what is lacking is perhaps the most critical ingredient i.e. the commitment to save the environment. Political will and public support are needed to attain global sustainable development. The combined approach of personal value with environmental value is needed and ecopreneurship can be a vital tool to mitigate the damage caused by blind capitalism and attain dual objectives of sustainability and profit.


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