The word ‘innovation’ means different things to different people. To many it is synonymous with artificial intelligence, quantum computing, or the automation of roles previously carried out by humans.
But for ecosystem designer and founder of Replenish.Earth Ltd, Dr Tia Kansara, the word innovation is more about ethical rather than digital advancement.
Dr Kansara has advised organisations from start-ups to blue-chips on how to model their business on environmentalism and sustainability. Not only to conserve the planet, but to appeal to the critical mass of green-conscious consumers.
“We are creating a new kind of democracy in which consumers are the voters”, says Tia. “Sustainability has become mainstream and pegged itself onto entrepreneurship. In today’s world, businesses need to be environmentally conscious to remain agile and competitive.”
There is no doubt that we have seen a radical shift since the early adoption of eco politics in the 1980s. Concerns about the planet have spread, slowly but steadily, from the die-hard activists, to governments, to an early majority within mainstream society.
It is no longer enough for firms to simply sign off their emails with ‘please consider the environment before printing’. There is now enormous appetite for sustainable products. Businesses who are basing their entire models on ecopolitics are flourishing.
Tia predicts an accelerated diffusion in the next five years as the concept reaches the late majority. And herein lies the opportunity for the business world.
Tia has been consulting in the field of environmental entrepreneurship for more than a decade. Her focus is not about blaming people for their large ecological footprints; more about encouraging creative, sustainable innovation.
In a notable project in India, Dr Kansara consulted a start-up firm throughout their manufacturing of roofing materials made entirely from recycled coconut shells. The company now have a repertoire of high-quality, highly-marketable products, which now include solar technology.
Her architectural background has also led her to incorporating her environmental ideologies into building design and maintenance. “30-40% of global Co2 emissions are coming from the built environment” she says. “Rapid urban prototyping and innovation are very exciting methods to ‘hack’ the built environment in ways we could not have imagined”.
Tia will turn her incisive gaze to innovation within energy conversation at the Australian Financial Review’s Innovation Summit in Sydney this September.
Reflecting on her advisory work with the UK’s largest architectural firm, Foster & Partners, which saw her consulting on building work in Saudi Arabia, Tia will offer some inspiring insights and advice to companies looking to take advantage of this growing market using the World Replenish Index.