Business Investments and Sustainable Lifestyles
Igniting Business Investments in Resource-efficiency (IBIRE)
To change their lifestyle an individual needs to be informed, willing and able to change. Awareness raising, information and education programs aim at influencing the “software” for decision-making processes of individuals and communities. Resource-efficient physical infrastructures, products and services are the ‘hardware” needed to enable individuals and communities to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. IBIRE, developed as part of the United Nations 10 Year Framework Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, aims at boosting private investments in support of the advancement of sustainable lifestyles worldwide, by identifying funding sources and making them aware of promising business innovations, and by facilitating and supporting access of entrepreneurs to the new global markets that serve the emergence of sustainable lifestyles worldwide. Building upon decades of good work on Cleaner Production and related concepts, as well as on development cooperation and innovation programs, the IBIRE program ignites worldwide attention of various types of investors and donors to the business opportunities that the shift to more sustainable lifestyles has to offer.
IBIRE matches supply and demand for financial resources for investments in products and services that contribute to sustainable lifestyles, with a focus on SMEs in emerging economies. It consists of an online direct investment platform hosted by World Resources Forum linking investment opportunities into resource-efficient businesses with relevant investors; a training program for NCPCs and other intermediary institutions, through which selected staff are trained in vetting and facilitating investment opportunities; and comprehensive online open-access database of financing opportunities supplemented with an interactive community building capacity of SMEs to develop upscaling, financing and business development strategies.
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The Sustainable Lifestyles program connects the rich global work of engineering sciences and social sciences in the area of sustainable resources management, and has started with a series of dedicated workshops and special events, among others implemented in partnership with the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The sustainable usage of resources is one of the most central challenges of today’s world. The consumption of energy and natural resources is increasing, especially because of the steadily growing economic prosperity. However, this increase cannot be sustained in the long run. It is becoming more and more evident that innovative and resource-efficient products do not suffice to satisfy the additional claims. Because due to the supplementary consumption, the savings will get overcompensated. Following this, resource-efficient consumption as well as determining factors which boost the latter are of importance. Hence, it is an essential task of the human and social sciences to highlight the social aspects of the sustainable usage of limited natural resources. Values, attitudes, interests and knowledge are all very valuable elements at the behavioural and the individual level, which influence the lifestyle and consequently the consumption as well as the use of resources. On the societal level, evolved structures such as the organisation of the material flow are important factors: a sustainable cycle can only arise if the whole value-added chain is integrated into the recycling-process.
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