SRH Campus Haarlem

Discover the Future of Sustainable Business and Innovation

Let’s explore the different sustainable business innovation models. This blog will provide an overview of the trends you should monitor and interesting subjects you can research further.

Haarlem, the Netherlands

Master Sustainable Business and Innovation

Before we dive in the sustainable  business and innovations exploration, a quick announcement! We are launching our part-time master's program in Applied Sustainability Management, which ensures that our prospective students have inculcated these values to lead in sustainable business and innovation. Since this is an applied program, the students will also be prepared to lead skills driving sustainability practice in other industries. If you are curious, we have open days in the future where you can learn more about this program. 

Now, let’s dive in!

Why sustainable business practices matter

Sustainable business practices are the core of long-term success and planetary health. They cover the broadest range of practices that minimize impacts on the environment in human activities, promote social equity, and enhance economic growth. In other words, sustainable practices could reduce carbon footprints, save natural resources, and raise biodiversity. For example, the Dutch company Fairphone develops smartphones with modularity oriented toward durability and reparability to reduce electronic waste.

Human resource

Most of the sustainable practices, in general, bring forth better economic returns, such as energy savings, new areas in market opportunities, and innovation. DSM is a Dutch company concerned with health, nutrition, and sustainable living, which simultaneously uses biotechnology and material science in the development of economic growth with sustainable solutions.

Human Dignity

Social sustainability ensures the business practice benefits all stakeholders—from employees to different communities and consumers—overall. It runs toward enhanced quality of life and social inclusion. Tony's Chocolonely is a company dealing with chocolate products in the Netherlands. The company has a social sustainability practice because it practises fair trade and uses no enslaved people to make chocolate, including social fair play and fair trade.

Innovations Driving Sustainable Business

Innovation meets sustainability at the intersection; there is a lot of excitement where businesses are using new technology to run more sustainably. Here are some of the most relevant sectors:

Alternative Energies

Solar and wind energy
With advancements in technological sources of energy, what was not very efficient or even cost-effective, such as solar and wind, is increasing. Businesses worldwide are hence taking up these. An example is Google, which has poured a lot of money into the same area, thus being positioned to record its feeder towards achieving 100% renewable energy for all its global operations.

Use of renewable energies and increases
This includes bioenergy, energy from renewable or geothermal sources, and advanced battery storage. For instance, one can mention the case of the Danish company Orsted, which was hitherto engaged in fossil fuel energy but transformed into a superpower in offshore wind energy.

Sustainable Farming Practices

This makes agriculture one of the critical sectors with innovative practices, all of which are turning the wheel on how to produce food with many impacts that can be found for sustainability.

Sustainable and Regenerative Farming
Examples include making such practices as soil health, chemical use, and biodiversity more sustainable and resilient. Among leading firms, the Rodale Institute pioneers organic and regenerative farming practices to improve soil health for increased carbon sequestration.

Urban farming and vertical farming
This would reduce transportation, optimize the use of space and resources, and make fresh produce available to urban areas. AeroFarms is an indoor, vertical farming company that grows leafy greens through aeroponic technology, using scarce water and no pesticides.

Green building: The construction industry is also heading toward sustainable practices.

Making Affordable Energy
Sustainable building, by definition, develops buildings that consume a minimum amount of energy to heat, cool, and light. Similarly, the Amsterdam Edge is considered one of the most intelligent and energy-efficient building offices in the world. It was designed from intuition and required to develop a building sufficiently efficient in energy-saving provisions while accommodating the cutting edge of intelligent technology.

Smart Building Systems
Further, this innovative technology integrated into buildings better manages energy and improves operational effectiveness. Philips Lighting, Netherlands, delivers innovative smart lighting solutions integrated with features that save energy and drop operational costs.

Human-centered circular innovations

These practices seek to explain how the maximal value of resources is generated while producing minimum wastage within a sustainable system.

Waste Minimization and Recycling
For instance, Auping, being Dutch-based, applied circular economy to the design of mattresses. Their mattresses are designed following cradle-to-cradle methods, making them fully recyclable after use, thus minimizing waste and conserving resources. This is an excellent example because businesses are now looking at ways to devise ways to reduce waste, make more recycling, and use materials more efficiently.

Product Life Cycle Management
A practice that conserves an unpolluted environment by recycling waste materials and managing the life cycle of products from their creation to their disposal phase. The Dutch firm Mud Jeans fills the missing line of a circular economy by taking over the lease model in doing business. It accepts worn-out jeans from customers and recycles them to manufacture new products.

Technological advancements in sustainable innovation

Internet of Things (IoT) and smart systems
It was IoT that brought real-time resource monitoring and management closer to reality, increasing operational performance and eventually making it more sustainable. Schneider Electric achieves this through energy efficiency and sustainability in industrial operations and embeds the Internet of Things and intelligent systems.

Robotics and Automation
The application of AI and machine learning to processes and the introduction of predictive maintenance methods make the decision-making process so much better for sustainability initiatives. IBM Watson AI technology is applied in the operation and optimization of energy use in most processes of industries to have better performance in sustainability matters.

Transportation sustainability

Electric and Autonomous Vehicles reduce reliance on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. A Dutch company, Lightyear, is currently working on a project to create fully solar electric cars with maximal energy efficiency that can cut the carbon footprints of transportation. 

Public transport innovations
Developments in mass transit, with electric buses and intelligent systems, make public transport sustainable and efficient. For sustainable public transport, one of the cities in the Netherlands, Utrecht, should be the biotope, aspiring to zero emissions by 2028

In Conclusion

The impact of sustainable business and innovation from leading companies such as Fairphone, DSM, and Tony's Chocolonely has attracted a positive example of conscious business. Human-centered best interests The prescriptions for best sustainability practices are evident in firms offering value lessons and inspiration for other businesses. Interface is a modular flooring company with an initiative, Mission Zero, that hopes to have the company with zero negative impact on the environment by the year 2020. Conclusion Future sustainability in any business looks very bright. Innovation is the single most determinant factor in world history for significant transitions across all sectors. We at SRH Haarlem University of Applied Sciences are preparing our students to be impactful leaders through a Master's Program in Applied Sustainability. So, let's do this together for a sustainable and prospering future.

If you want  to Master Sustainable business and innovation and learn these type of practices  and more join our Master in Applied Sustainability Management.