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Green Technology: Comparison of Economic and Environmental Implications

Introduction

Technological advancement and innovative solutions in a variety of industries worldwide drive the business trends. However, significant environmental concerns contribute new demands to the technological and business discourse by necessitating the implementation of innovative solutions to facilitate environment-friendly technologies. Indeed, the opportunities for innovation have created a unique setting for environment-friendly economies to evolve and minimize the disruptive effect of current industrial production on the planet. Despite the numerous nature-related benefits of green technologies evidenced by scientific research and promoted by governments, the economic benefits of shifting to eco-innovation are unclear for many. Therefore, it is essential to investigate the distribution of the implication perspectives of green technologies for economic and environmental domains to identify the prevalence of benefits in one of the spheres.

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The Concept of Green Technology

For the past several decades, the term green technology or its synonymic forms has steadily occupied the vocabulary of scholars, economists, governmental authorities, and the business sector. Overall, green tech is an “umbrella term that encapsulates any technology that is created to be environmentally friendly from its production line all the way to its usage” (Qamar, 2020, p. 1). The primary cause of the emergence of this field is the growing concern about climate change and irreversible damage to ecosystems under the long-term influence of intensive human use of non-renewable resources. Moreover, contemporary economies in general, and the energy sector in particular, are significantly reliant on oil and gas energy production, which are claimed to be affordable around the globe but yield extensive CO2 emissions, causing greenhouse gas effect and polluting all ecosystems (Qamar, 2020). Besides the energy sector, modern overconsumption of plastic causes environmental pollution due to excessive waste, a global environmental concern also addressed by green tech. Many companies start to implement environment-friendly projects, integrate ecological incentives in their social responsibility agendas, or fully shift to green technology business models (Fernando & Wah, 2017). On a broader scale, the benefits generated by green tech include better environmental protection, improved human health and longevity, economic prosperity, and enhanced employment opportunities. Therefore, due to the persistent two-fold implication of green technology, its economic and environmental benefits are analyzed, compared, and contrasted below.

Environmental Implications of Green Technology

The abundance of environmental benefits generated by implementing green technology initiatives is difficult to overrate. Much research is available on the validation of the environmental implications of green tech. In particular, Qamar (2020) singles out three main areas of ecological advantages provided by green technology. Firstly, such an approach to production is “less taxing to the natural environment thus reduces the depletion of the resource,” saving non-renewables such as water, gas, oil, and others (Qamar, 2020, p. 3). Secondly, thanks to the use of environmental-friendly technologies across industries, the “emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) (CO2, CH4, N2O) is considerably less or zero” (Qamar, 2020, p. 3). Thirdly, the “usage of renewable resources (wind, solar) is encouraged,” which yields long-term developmental opportunities for the technological field and promotes sustainable energy use (Qamar, 2020, p. 3). Thus, implementing green technological solutions helps diversify the use of renewable natural resources and minimize harm to the ecosystems.

However, regardless of the numerous benefits, applying environment-friendly technological solutions to the business sector remains challenging for several reasons. On the one hand, the volumes of energy consumption today are vast and necessitate a steady and accessible flow of energy, the cost of which justifies the source. On the other hand, global environmental concerns are difficult to combat due to the disparity in opportunities to implement sustainable economic solutions in developing countries. Another issue is the under-preparedness of the business sector for the implementation of green tech. As stated by Fernando and Wah (2017), “although being eco-friendly enables the ultimate goals of the company to be achieved, if an appropriate business strategy remains unapplied, the result is akin to a vehicle without wheels” (p. 27). Thus, the achievement of environmental benefits significantly depends on the economic implications of green tech.

Economic Implications of Green Technology

From an economic standpoint, the benefits of green technology are perceived as more challenging to identify due to the implied additional costs associated with the transition to new technology and risks. Indeed, when compared to the implications for ecology, green tech use for economic purposes is less obvious and necessitates analyzing the profit-making options for organizations from both short and long-term perspectives. As stated by Fernando and Wah (2017), companies are expected to return their investment on green tech implementation. In particular, “a company bears the costs of environmental management in the short term to comply with environmental certification, but it can reap earnings from environmental management in the long term” (Fernando & Wah, 2017, p. 28). However, one of the most evident benefits in this regard is the short-term industry-wise competitiveness for organizations that use green technology and incorporate environmental protection in their social responsibility efforts (Fernando & Wah, 2017). Such entities are capable of using the trend in the contemporary economy and obtaining more investment due to the rapid growth of this sector in technology.

As for the long-term incentives from an economic perspective, the inclusion of industry and academia in the implementation process to “promote proper methods of eco-innovation to lower production costs” (Fernando & Wah, 2017, p. 28). Thus, green technology use yields perspectives for sustainable growth on a global scale, the creation of new employment opportunities, and obtaining governmental support. Moreover, eco-friendly technologies’ economic benefits might be analyzed through a lens of their direct and indirect effect on entity performance. The direct economic benefits for companies that invest in green tech include operational advantages, such as, for example, “reducing costs from better resource productivity and better logistics” (Fernando & Wah, 2017, p. 28). The indirect benefits, on the other hand, include a “better image; better relationships with customers, suppliers and authorities; greater worker satisfaction; and increased health and safety benefits, which add to maintained competitiveness and profit generation (Fernando & Wah, 2017, p. 28). Thus, there are economic implications of green technologies, although they are more implicit in comparison to environmental ones. Thus, the environmental benefits of an eco-friendly economy outweigh those of an economic nature.

Conclusion

In summation, as the analysis of environmental and economic implications of green technology for the contemporary world has shown, there are more vividly observable advantages of ecological business solutions for the environment than for the economy. However, green tech’s significant under-addressed indirect and direct long-term benefits for the economy must be properly investigated and popularized. Therefore, businesses, governments, and scholars should put collaborative effort into developing new methods and approaches to cost-efficient implementation of the green economy so that both economic growth and environmental protection might strive.

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References

Fernando, Y., & Wah, W. X. (2017). The impact of eco-innovation drivers on environmental performance: Empirical results from the green technology sector in Malaysia. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 12, 27-43.

Qamar, M. Z. (2020). Green technology and its implications worldwide. The Inquisitive Meridian Multidisciplinary Journal, 3(1), 1-10. Web.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Green Technology: Comparison of Economic and Environmental Implications." December 23, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/green-technology-comparison-of-economic-and-environmental-implications/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Green Technology: Comparison of Economic and Environmental Implications'. 23 December.

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