The Future of Industry in Asia (for UNIDO)

By L. Hunter Lovins, Emily A. Evans, Bonnie Nixon and Catherine Greener

Written for the UNIDO International Conference on Green Industry in Asia, September 2009.

[download the .pdf of the full 200+ page report]

This paper was also expanded and adopted for a global audience in July 2010 (read more here).

In November 2008, Hunter Lovins was engaged by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to write a paper on sustainable production for Asia. The paper addresses how resource-efficient and low carbon manufacturing lifts people out of poverty. Hunter and Emily Evans presented the paper at the October 2009 U.N. sponsored, International Green Industry Conference in Asia, in Manila, Philippines. Emily Evans led the project and associate Catherine Greener helped author. Several interns and other staff also provided research and editing support.

In preparation for the final presentation in Manila, Hunter and Emily travelled to the United Nations headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand in March 2009 to present the first formal draft of the paper’s outline. The audience included various departments within the United Nations, the International Labor Organization, international research and academic institutions, and various Asian ministers. The outline was very well received and the Natural Capitalism group began writing the paper in mid-spring.

Using the feedback from the conference, the principles of Natural Capitalism, and Natural Capitalism’s roadmap for sustainable production, the commissioned paper provides Asian businesses with the tools necessary to shift their operations toward more sustainable modes of production. Once these challenges are met, industry will flourish, helping communities address chronic poverty.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Asia (And the Rest of the World) Need Sustainable Production……….. 7

Why Business-as-Usual is Changing: The Drivers of Change……. 9
Rethinking Industry to Achieve Sustainability: Solutions and Opportunities……. 10
How to Change Industry: Radically Sustainable Manufacturing and Tools for Change……. 12
Rethinking Development: Lifting People Out of Poverty……. 13

Chapter 2.   Business As Usual Is Changing……….. 14

The Drivers of Change: Challenges Facing Industry……. 14
Economic Collapse—The Recession in Asia: How Environmental Unsustainability Drove Financial Collapse… 15
Loss of Ecosystems and Services Provided by Ecosystems… 19
Climate Change… 22
Growing Food and Water Scarcity… 29
Oil Supply Constraints… 34
Shifting Demographics… 36
Globalization and Localization… 38
Growth and Impact… 40
Sustainability Imperative—Why Walmart Is Going Green… 42
Sustainability: the Foundation of Prosperity and Development……. 46

Chapter 3. Rethinking Industry to Achieve Sustainability……….. 48

Natural Capitalism……. 48
Natural Capitalism Principle One: Buy Time By Using Resources More Productively… 50
Whole Systems Design for Efficiency……….. 55
Efficiency Throughout the Supply Chain……….. 57
Efficiency for Smaller Companies……….. 59
Manufacturing efficiency……….. 63
Natural Capitalism Principle Two: Redesign Everything… 64
Biomimicry……….. 66
Cradle to Cradle……….. 73
Natural Capitalism Principle Three: Restore Human and Natural Capital by Managing All Institutions for Sustainability… 89
Green New Deal……….. 91
Zero Waste Eco Towns……….. 92
Achieving Sustainability Through the Principles of Natural Capitalism……. 94

Chapter 4. Radically Sustainable Manufacturing……….. 96

Truly Transforming Industry……. 96
Radically Sustainable Manufacturing… 96
Understanding the system……….. 97
Implementing Radically Sustainable Manufacturing: Industrial Ecology… 98
Kalundborg, 30 years of Industrial Ecology… 100
Tools for Change……. 103
Tools for Private Industries… 104
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)……….. 104
Global Reporting Initiative……….. 106
Design for Environment……….. 106
Biomimicry……….. 109
Scenario Planning……….. 110
Sustainable Operating Systems……….. 111
Wheel of Change……….. 112
The Sustainability Advantage……….. 114
Solutions at the Speed of Business……….. 115
Managing a Company with the Sustainability Helix……….. 116
The Helix as a Management Tool……….. 119
Sustainability Helix Activity Threads……….. 120
Existing efforts to introduce sustainability, transparency and accountability into the supply chain……….. 126
Value Chain Ecosystems… 132
Government’s Role… 133
Innovative Government Mechanisms to Implement Sustainability……….. 133
Overcoming Barriers of Change……….. 134
Eliminate Perverse Subsidies……….. 136
Tax Shifting……….. 137
Creative Ways to Provide Capital……….. 137
LASER—Local Action for Sustainable Economic Renewal……….. 138
Transforming the Production Model……. 140

Chapter 5. Rethinking Development……….. 142

Redefining Aid……. 142
Lessons in Development……. 154
Doing Development Industry Right… 156
Governments Leading Change in Development… 160
The Best Choice for Developing Countries: Investing in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy……. 161
Redesigning the Gross Domestic Product……. 165
Working with Developed Countries……. 169
Eco-tourism… 170
Organic Food Markets… 170
Fair Trade Markets… 171
Achieving Genuine Sustainable Development… 174

Appendix: The Business Case……….. 177

Acknowledgements……….. 179

Author Biographies……….. 180

 

[download the .pdf of the full 200+ page report]

 

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