The world recovers: The need for green enterprises in times of coronavirus

The economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could be the ideal moment to analyze the current economic model, where growth in productivity has been accompanied by enormous inequalities and a planet facing a climate emergency.

At a time when governments multiply measures to contain the novel coronavirus, and many are horrified by the images of closed factories and deserted streets, the best news for the environment emerges. Statistics show a drastic drop in nitrogen dioxide levels in Europe and China, which has got many of us thinking.

According to the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Inger Andersen, this reduction is temporary, as once we return to what we call “normality,” the volumes of pollutants will rise again.

However, a question arises: if it has been possible to achieve cleaner cities and reduce pollution, would it not be wise to look for alternatives that allow results like these to be maintained over time? Undoubtedly, this could be a good time for the growth of green enterprises, which promote the reconstruction of the economy based on investment in clean technologies.

Any business can be a green business, as long as it is committed to environmental sustainability. Green startups offer goods or services that generate positive environmental impacts and incorporate good social, economic and environmental practices that contribute to sustainable development. In a pandemic context, projects promoting environmental sustainability and social responsibility are decisive to overcoming the current economic-financial crisis.

Latin America, for example, is a region where eco-enterprises have proliferated. A quick review of the Green Latin America Awards, the most important event for these projects on the continent, allows us to comprehend the growth and diversity of the proposals. In its six editions since 2013, a total of 10,144 projects have been presented, from 930 cities.

If we take a closer look at the 2019 edition, we find interesting initiatives such as “Proyecto Tití,” which advocates the conservation of the cotton-top tamarin monkey and the protection of its natural habitat in Colombia; as well as the Mexican project “Familia Rural Inteligente-Ecotecnia” which offers comprehensive environmental technologies for rural families living in poverty. For its part, the Chilean enterprise “Atando cabos,” by Comberplast, proposed to convert the ropes used by ships into plastic frames to move cargo and received the award in the Oceans category.

These are just some examples of a movement that, according to the United Nations, should be a key part of the different economy that we need today, where the health of the planet and that of people prosper equally.

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