Sample Case Study Paper on Macro Assignment 3

The theory of the green economy has become popular in the global front due to its response to numerous crises that have happened in recent years, which include climate change, food insecurity, as well as economic crises. The green economy usually focuses on sustainable development without necessarily harming the environment. In macroeconomic term, green economy is an interaction between environment and economy. The Green Economy Report that was prepared by Unites Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) revealed that the transition to green economy does not drag growth, but it facilitates the engine of growth towards sustainable development. Green economy was proposed to promote national policy development, as well as global cooperation, in response to climate change and related crises while supporting sustainable development. This study will focus on defining the green economy as a concept, with an aim of identifying regional initiatives to promote sustainable development.

The Green Economy

Green economy is a concept that aims at sustainable development with regards to environmental conservation. According to UNEP, the green economy is an environment that has demonstrated a rise in individual’s well-being, as well as social equity, while extensively minimizing environmental risks and ecological scarceness (“Introduction: Setting the stage,” 2011). A green economy has low levels of carbon, encourages efficient utilization of resources, and enhanced social inclusivity.  It is an environment where growth in income, as well as employment, are driven by both public and private investments, which are keen to minimize carbon emissions and pollution; encourage efficient use of energy and other resources; and averting the loss of biodiversity. Improving the well-being of individuals necessitates green economy to focus on renewable energies, green building, sustainable transport, water management, waste management, and land management (Chan, 2014). A move to renewable energy has been attributed to creation of new employment opportunities due to higher labor intensity and increased investment

Analysts have defined green economy concept based on the old concept of sustainable development, which specifies the three major pillars of development. These pillars include economic, social and environmental, where all the pillars emphasize on intergenerational equity in ensuring individuals’ well-being. Ocampo (n.d) underlined several macroeconomic issues that require to be considered in defining and analyzing the green economy, and one of the issues is the well-being of future generations. The current economic decisions should consider cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the future generations are catered for during savings and investments. Other issues include effects of environmental degradation on aggregate supply; economic growth as a procedure for structural change; and financing of global initiatives.

Private sectors have been critical in tackling the needs of vulnerable individuals in society through implementing strategies that aim at improving the climate. Business leaders have the capacity to commit their services to assist vulnerable communities in conserving the environment, particularly regions that they have established their firms. For instance, Oxfam has been involved in addressing poverty and injustices in all regions that it has set its operations. Oxfam’s mission is to support people in the development of structures that benefit them directly through fighting poverty and social injustice.

The pathways to a green economy necessitate specific enabling conditions, which include national regulations, strategic policies, effective subsidies, and incentives. Changing trade patterns are normally accompanied by change in policies, thus, creating a transition towards the green economy. Legal infrastructure is also paramount to guide on international trade and markets, as well as development aid. The current enabling environments rely heavily on fossil fuels, which contribute to resource depletion as well as environmental deprivation. Despite the rising need to move towards a green economy among different countries, negotiations prior to the conference organized by the UN on environment and development (also known as UNCED) that was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 were marred with challenges that resulted from lack of international agreed definitions.

The key objective in the evolution to a green economy should be to enhance economic growth through investment while considering increased environmental quality as well as social inclusiveness. The methods that states apply in exploiting natural resources determine how successful such states can be in attaining green economy. Natural resources Green economy has called for huge investments in various government and non-government sectors through policy reforms and reviewing of regulations.

UNEP has worked tirelessly in demystifying the myths about green economy by offering timely and practical guideline on how to formulate reforms to unlock the potential in employment and production to realize the green economy. UNEP has removed doubt on the trade-off that was perceived to exist between environmental sustainability and economic growth by stating that green economy does not interfere with wealth creation nor creation of jobs (“Introduction: Setting the stage,” 2011). Another myth concerned the luxury that was perceived to be created by green economy in affluent countries only, but the UNEP asserted that the transition to green economy benefits both developed and developing countries.

The UAE government has contributed immensely in pursuing sustainable development in the country through public policy that focus on attainment of economic, environmental, as well as social development. The UAE has remained judicious in positioning itself as a leader in the green economy, particularly in the renewable energies sector. According to Chan (2014), all actions taken by the UAE to benefit from the green economy are socially responsible and capable of improving the competitiveness of the country through spillover effects at home and abroad. Such efforts have been emphasized to transform UAE into a sustainable diversified economy particularly in the clean energy segment. Other countries can imitate what the UAE practice in order to enhance their goal to sustainable development.

The green economy concept does not substitute sustainable development, but rather assists in laying a foundation of achieving sustainability. However, some of the risks associated with improper use of green economy concept include using the term to mean purely environmental and having a one-size-fit-all approach on the concept (Ocampo, n.d). Existing policies have resulted to the problem of capital misallocation due to unrestrained environmental externalities. Thus, misallocation can be reversed by formulating appropriate public policies that emphasize on pricing and regulatory measures. Green economy concept is not a substitute for sustainable development, but rather the basis towards attaining sustainability through acting appropriately. The struggle to attain economic goals have derailed the Millennium Development Goals, which were anticipated to be attained by 2015, as social marginalization, resource exhaustion, and environmental degradation are still rife in many countries (“Introduction: Setting the stage,” 2011).

Promoting Sustainable Development

Sustainable development has always been an all-embracing ambition for the international community ever since the UNCED held its first meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Sustainable development involves attaining growth that satisfies the present needs without necessarily compromising the capacity for future generations to achieve their own needs. In Rio’s conference, representatives agreed to search for alternatives of energy, which could replace fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are associated with global climate change. Among other commitments, the participants also accepted to develop national strategies aimed at achieving sustainable development by incorporating policy measures as expressed in the UNCED. Developing regional networks has helped in benchmarking policies, in addition to spreading appropriate practices in a given region.

Politics contributes to sustainable development, especially when its focal point is equitable resource allocation. A green economy supports all forms of political perspectives as long as they are relevant to a particular economy. Political activities that focus on economic development must ensure that future generations have access of resources for sustainable growth while society must develop strategy to would enhance proper use of resources to expand economic activities and welfare. For sustainable development, leaders should decide on how much to save in order to accumulate for future generations’ well-being. Leaders should also be involved in promoting cooperation between urban areas and rural regions in terms of accessing public services. Thus, the concept of sustainable development incorporates the green economy perspectives, which focus on improving the well-being of society without exposing the environment to destruction.

To attain sustainable development that guarantees higher quality of life to all individuals, states should endeavor to reduce and curb unsustainable methods of production and consumption. In addition, states should focus on promoting suitable demographic policies that could eradicate poverty. The challenge of supplying food to a growing population can be fought through adopting efficient methods of farming, as well as creating sufficient employment opportunities for the rising population. Other issues, such as finance systems, trade, global economics, are also critical in establishing a sustainable development framework, which leads to green economy (Ocampo, n.d). The world must endeavor to come up with an answer to the global environmental problems that inhibit social and economic development.

Borrowing from the UAE companies, firms should establish effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, which guide their operations towards environmental conservation and sustainability. Sustainability is a requirement for any business that wants to succeed. In UAE, companies generate impact to the surrounding community and environment through CSR practices. CSR ensures that companies are committed to social and environmental considerations that dictate their business operations (“Demonstrating Responsible Practice in the UAE,” 2012). CSR has an impact on the workplace, marketplace, community, and environment, since it incorporates standards of conduct and policies that guide on business operations and stakeholders.

Conclusion

A green economy is attained when society experiences improved human well-being, social equity, and a decline in environmental risks and ecological shortages. UNEP has been involved in the implementation of rules that guide social inclusion and environmental preservation for the current and future generations. Green economy is usually entrenched in the more expansive sustainable development concept, which is termed as an economy that combines growth and environmental sustainability. Although numerous challenges exist while struggling to attain economic, social, and environmental goals, the green economy has endeavored to fight global climate change through change in leadership, reviewing existing regulations, and encouraging investment in both public and private companies. Countries such as UAE have experienced the model of a green economy, which has seen the country adopt strategic policies to attain sustainable development. CSR can be utilized to promote sustainability by focusing on vulnerable groups in society with an aim of creating employment opportunities to such groups.

References

Allen, C., & Clouth, S. (2012). A guidebook to the Green Economy Issue 1: Green Economy, Green Growth, and Low-Carbon Development – history, definitions and a guide to recent publications. UN Division for Sustainable Development, UNDESA.

Chan, K. L. (2014). The UAE’s best practices in government-related activities in the green economy.  Emirates Competitiveness Council, United Arab Emirates: Best practices in competitiveness policy – regional innovation GFCC annual meeting: 11-13 December 2014 (Banff, Alberta, Canada).

Demonstrating Responsible Practice in the UAE (2012). Dubai Chamber, Sustainability Network.

Introduction: Setting the stage for a green economy transition (2011). United Nations Environment Programme, Towards a Green Economy.

Merino-Blanco, E., & Razzaque, J. (2012). Natural resources and the green economy: Redefining the challenges for people, states and corporations. Leiden: Martinus Nijhofff Publishers.

Ocampo, J. A. (n.d). The Transition to a Green Economy: Benefits, Challenges and Risks from a Sustainable Development Perspective. United Nations Environment Programme, Summary of Background Papers.