Strategies for Doing Business When Resources Are Few

Article excerpt

Overfished Ocean Strategy: Powering Up Innovation for a Resource-Deprived World by Nadya Zhexembayeva. BerrettKoehler. 2014. 195 pages. $27.95.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Fish populations across the world are withering under unrelenting pressure from human population growth and rising demand for sea food. If some studies prove correct, there will be no more wild fish left to catch by mid-century. It's arguably a global crisis, but within this crisis lies a golden opportunity, argues Nadya Zhexembayeva, a business owner and professor of sustainable development at the IEDC-Bled School of Management in Slovenia:

We can make it the springboard for jumpstarting radical innovation toward energy-wise and resource-efficient business.

And this is not "green business"--Zhexembayeva emphatically distances herself from the myriad present-day lines of "green" and "sustainable" products that she says suffer limited appeal due to high costs, poor quality, or excessive and sometimes misleading hype.

The businesses that the new economy will be built on are an entirely different breed, characterized not so much by new products as by altogether new ways of doing business. She sums up these new practices as the "Overfished Ocean Strategy-"

Five key principles distinguish this new strategy from business as usual: Companies will repurpose waste materials into useful new products, instead of consigning them to landfills; they will act collaboratively rather than through top-down command; they will sell relevance, not products; they will make decisions via adaptable models, not rigid plans; and they will embed sustainable action throughout their organizations, rather than relegate it to solitary "green" departments. …