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Environmental Sustainability and the Growing Economy


by Oluwagbemibori Olaoye

Environmental pollution is the single major cause of diseases and death in poorer countries, causing more than one death out of seven. Pollution is a result of industrialization. Yet countries must create economic boosts for their citizens’ benefit, sometimes at the expense of their health. This attempt is due to the never-ending pressure to attain economic growth and the perception that countries can’t grow economically and care for their environment at the same time.

The question now is whether there is a link between ensuring economic stability vis-vis environmental sustainability.

At the heart of the business, success is Sustainability. This is because a business that cannot operate in the present and future conditions will crumble.

While Economic Sustainability considers consistent commercial viability and continued operations in the face of expected or unexpected events, Environmental Sustainability focuses directly on the long-term impact that operational or economic activities have on the environment and how these activities can be bounded by environmental limits to ensure continued human existence.

Based on reports from the South China Morning Post, “Producing goods and services requires, to a greater or lesser degree, the use of natural resources — and thus comes attached with an environmental cost.”

Since pollution mainly represents waste or input-output process inefficiency, it suggests that if this conversion efficiency is increased due to a focus on environmental Sustainability, there is a likelihood of generating more significant economic gains for any organization involved.

This is an interesting phenomenon. Environmental Sustainability is crucial for climate stability and human well-being. It can also lead to increased profits for organizations or people that toe in this line.

Let me share an example to help explain this important point.

In South Africa, a large-scale electrification program helped expand electricity from just 35% of households in 1990 to 84% in 2011. This had a huge effect on some of the actions taken by inhabitants of the country. Women no longer had to travel long distances to get firewood, and the impact of indoor air pollution caused by wood-burning stoves was drastically reduced.

This also had another important consequence — it gave women more time and freedom to further their education or enter the labor market. This had a significant impact on the economy of South-Africa because it led to an increase in the general labor force and source of income for families.

According to Ana Langer, Director of the Women and Health Initiative at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Sustainable development needs women’s social, economic, and environmental contributions, which will increase when women are healthy, valued, enabled, and empowered to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives.” In essence, by placing a strategic focus on environmental Sustainability, there is a direct impact on economic growth and Sustainability.

In summary, emerging economies such as Nigeria must focus on rapid economic progress, but this should not be at the expense of the environment because it will lead to economic decline in the long run.

We need a sustainable environment to survive and attain economic prosperity.




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