2012-09-10 10:11:00

Gunter Pauli and the Blue Economy

Almost a month has passed since the visit of the famous scientist and public figure Gunther Pauli to Ukraine. On 15 February at the business school of the Kiev International Institute of Management the Ukrainian translation of the sensational book of this entrepreneur, who is, moreover, a member of the Club of Rome — «Blue Economy: 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs» was presented. During this time, passion about ideas of restless Belgian has been dropped down a bit, and many interested people received a possibility to read the book.

Arrival of Mr. Pauli caused great interest among many Ukrainian scholars, and especially students. The visit was covered in the press and on television, it is not surprising that the «Blue Economy» and the author himself caused controversy about the validity of this approach, and, most importantly, the feasibility of its use in complicated Ukrainian reality. Evaluation of many comments in social and political informational resources of the country ranged from complete rejection and stinging resentment to raptures and full approval. We can say one thing: that the author and his book will leave no one indifferent. There are various ways to respond to the idea of Gunter Pauli, but it is undeniable that the time to change our traditional approaches to the environment has come. Impending ecological disaster caused by human activities on the planet, and the increased natural disasters resulting from the consumer attitudes to our land are enough to take action to find a way out of this disappointing situation.

Our country, unfortunately, applies to regions with high risk level. Promotion of better ways to reduce the socio-economic and environmental risks and improve quality of life of each person is one of the objectives of the Foundation of Vladimir Kosterin. At the end of September 2011 at the invitation of Risk Reduction Foundation President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Kiev and together with the head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Vladimir Litvin, Foundation held a large-scale forum, which addressed the issues of identification, evaluation and solutions of global and local risks in Ukraine in the context of pan-European and global issues. European parliamentarians together with the President of PACE took part in the Forum.

In continuation of these events ideas of Gunter Pauli were presented in the book «The Blue Economy» and can become one more important step on the way of Ukraine’s recovery to relevant European and world standards of living, which is the basic condition for entry into the European Union. Vladimir Kosterin, head of the Swiss "Risk Reduction Foundation", said that the idea of the «Blue Economy» will contribute to the formation of Ukraine as an environmentally clean and safe, economically developed and reliable for the investments country.

According to the author, a blue economy will lead to the energetic success of people and regions of the world. So why his apptoach is revolutionaty, or better to say evolutionary? The businessman tells how he understood, from his expirience, limitations of green economy and refused from the modern environmental enterprise. In 1991, he bought the bankrupt perfume company and created the most powerful ecological factory in Europe, which produced a biosope from palm oil. On the one hand, the plant was a completely closed production cycle, zero harmful emissions into the environment. The director even paid his workers 50 cents per kilometer, they overcame on a bike! However, the company withstood worthy competition with such a giant in this industry as "Procter & Gamble".

— But, in spite of all these environmental innovations, the main problem remained unresolved — we were destroying palm forests! Then I realized that it is necessary to radically change the business model! And that is why we need to change our thinking, look where no one turns his head — shared his experience Gunter Pauli.

And then he came to the conclusion that nature is the best friend and counselor in everything, including business. And so it is necessary to search for approaches that return the economy to the evolutionary development. Skeptics argue that the simulation based on natural ecosystems is not always successful, and if it is, it is likely to be a pure coincidence. In reality, the ecosystems will almost never fail. They are an example of a very successful operating models of production and consumption. Huge variety of ecological systems in the world cause more fascination, as they demonstrate effectiveness in providing all the needs, using only what they have near.

Exactly such cases of using what is natural and at hand, holds the book of Gunter Pauli. For example: why the bird likes to sit on a zebra? Because thanks to the black and white stripes zebra receives free ventilation. Taking into account this law of physics the house was built in Japan, where in the summer it is by 5 degrees cooler than in other buildings — without any insulation and air conditioning.

Or again, after having examined termite mounds, which are characterized by precise control of entry and exit of air flows, the architects used these «tips» of nature during the construction of a Laggarberg school in the city of Timra in northern Sweden. As a result, it became possible to raise the temperature by 8 degrees during the cold winters without the energy resources. And thanks to the intelligent natural ventilation of the school children were considered perhaps the most healthy in Sweden.

Here is an example, which became just a textbook for Gunter Pauli. Billion of people lives in the bamboo forests on the planet. It is no secret that this tree has long been considered an excellent building material. But Belgian businessman with associates needed more than 10,000 pages of documentary evidence to convince the German engineers and architects to build a building out of it that would withstand millions of visitors. But when it happened, many scientists were amazed. «This is — an incredible skill» — they said. Moreover, the team of Pauli taught Colombians, many of whom were elementary illiterate, to build a beautiful private homes of bamboo. The cost of a spacious house with a large balcony was only 2.2 thousand dollars!

The author not only provides ready-made ideas (though the reader will find them here in very large number), but appeals to a change in our consciousness which persistently refuses to see the obvious because of age-old stereotypes.

Speaking of waste, which every year humanity gathers more and more, we can use an example of the experience of South Korea. They have learned to effectively convert waste into biogas, and this can reduce taxes for the population by 30%.

— Why you have not done these steps in Ukraine, taking into account your regular gas problems with Russia? If in three years you will not implement it, then there was no sense for me to come to you today, — says the author of «The Blue Economy». — We just do not see the new opportunities and there are plenty of them around us.

A group of scientists, researchers and innovators in Ukraine should scan all local conditions — it must be dozens, hundreds of ideas — and then start to implement them! Then the young people will have jobs which their parents could not even imagine.

Of course, it is not easy to do. For the full realization of this approach an appropriate public policy is needed to make such changes in society. Perhaps very soon our government will understand it. But we want it to happen as soon as possible, because with established methods of management, aimed at taking everything out of nature, the Earth actually doesn’t have much time.

P. S. Gunter Pauli visit to Ukraine became possible thanks to the invitation of the famous Ukrainian economist Bohdan Hawrylyshyn and head of the International Risk Reduction Foundation Vladimir Kosterin.