《经济学人》:熊彼特专栏-绿色增长
日期:2011-09-19 09:27

(单词翻译:单击)

Schumpeter
熊彼特专栏

Green growth
绿色增长

Some emerging-world companies are combining growth with greenery
一些发展中国家的企业将环保事业与利润增长相结合

Sep 17th 2011 | from the print edition

THE enrichment of previously poor countries is the most inspiring development of our time. It is also worrying. The environment is already under strain. What will happen when the global population rises from 7 billion today to 9.3 billion in 2050, as demographers expect, and a growing proportion of these people can afford goods that were once reserved for the elite? Can the planet support so much economic activity?

我们身处的这个时代最激动人心的进步乃是前贫穷国家的经济发展。而这令人忧虑。环境早已不堪重负。当全球总人口从今天的70亿上升至人口统计家所预估的2050年的93亿,并且越来越多的人有钱购置一度为上流人士储备的商品之时,世界会成何样呢?地球能够承担如此繁重的经济活动吗?

Many policymakers adopt a top-down and Western-centric approach to such planetary problems. They discuss ambitious regulations in global forums, or look to giant multinationals and well-heeled NGOs to set an example. But since most people live in the emerging world, it makes sense to look at what successful companies there are doing to make growth more sustainable.

许多决策者们建议采纳一个自上而下并以西方为中心的方法来解决此类问题。他们在全球论坛中雄心勃勃地探讨监管制度,或指望大型跨国公司和富有的非政府组织来树立典范。但鉴于大多数人生活在发展中国家,故而有必要了解这些国家的成功企业为促进可持续增长而做了些什么。

A new study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identifies 16 emerging-market firms that they say are turning eco-consciousness into a source of competitive advantage. These highly profitable companies (which the study dubs “the new sustainability champions”) are using greenery to reduce costs, motivate workers and forge relationships. Their home-grown ideas will probably be easier for their peers to copy than anything cooked up in the West.

世界经济论坛和波士顿咨询公司的一项最新研究显示,16个发展中国家的企业认为它们将生态意识转换为一种具有竞争性的优势资源。这些高盈利企业(即这项研究中的“新型可持续发展领头羊”)利用环保来降低成本,激励员工,建立关系网。它们的本土思维有可能更容易让同行复制而不是去效仿欧美。

The most salient quality of these companies is that they turn limitations (of resources, labour and infrastructure) into opportunities. Thus, India’s Shree Cement, which has long suffered from water shortages, developed the world’s most water-efficient method for making cement, in part by using air-cooling rather than water-cooling. Manila Water, a utility in the Philippines, reduced the amount of water it was losing, through wastage and illegal tapping, from 63% in 1997 to 12% in 2010 by making water affordable for the poor. Broad Group, a Chinese maker of air conditioners, taps the waste heat from buildings to power its machines. Zhangzidao Fishery Group, a Chinese aquaculture company, recycles uneaten fish feed to fertilise crops.

这些企业最显著的特点是将资源、劳动力、设备的不足化为机遇。印度公司Shree Cement,曾长期面临水资源短缺的困扰,通过使用空气冷却而不是水冷却的方法,研制出世界最高效的用水系统来生产水泥。菲律宾一家公用事业公司Manila Water,因浪费和非法开采而导致的用水量流失,让穷人用得起水,将这一流失比例从1997年的63%降低至2010年的12%。中国的空调制造商远大集团,利用建筑散发的废热为机器提供动力;大连的海洋食品企业獐子岛渔业集团,重复利用剩鱼来肥沃庄稼。

Setting green goals is a common practice. Sekem, an Egyptian food producer, set itself the task of reclaiming desert land through organic farming. Florida Ice & Farm, a Costa Rican food and drink company, has adopted exacting standards for the amount of water it can consume in producing drinks.

设定绿色目标是惯例。埃及食品生产商Sekem制定以有机种植来改造沙漠的任务。哥斯达黎加食品饮料公司Florida Ice & Farm在生产饮料过程中采纳严苛的耗水量标准。

These firms measure themselves by their greenery, too. Florida Ice & Farm, for example, links 60% of its boss’s pay to the triple bottom line of “people, planet and profit”. The sustainability champions also encourage their workers to come up with green ideas. Natura, a Brazilian cosmetics company, gives bonuses to staff who find ways to reduce the firm’s impact on the environment. Masisa, a Chilean forestry company, invites employees to “imagine unimaginable businesses” aimed at poorer consumers. Woolworths, a South African retailer, claims that many of its best green ideas have come from staff, not bosses.

这些企业还通过环保事业来衡量自身价值。比如,Florida Ice & Farm把老板60%的薪水与“人、地球、利润”三条底线挂钩。同时,这只“新型可持续发展领头羊”还鼓励员工提出绿色点子。巴西一家化妆品企业Natura分发奖励给员工,让他们找到降低企业对环境造成破坏的方法。智利一家林业企业Masisa,动员其职工开动脑筋,想出各种稀奇古怪的业务方式吸引相对拮据的客户。南非一家零售商Woolworths称,公司很多最佳环保点子来自员工而不是老板。

In emerging markets it is hard for companies to stick to one specialism, because they have to worry about so many wider problems, from lousy infrastructure to unreliable supply chains. So the sustainability champions seek to shape the business environment in which they operate. They lobby regulators: Grupo Balbo, a Brazilian organic-sugar producer, is working with the Brazilian government to establish a certification system for organic products. They form partnerships with governments and NGOs. Kenya’s Equity Bank has formed an alliance with groups such as The International Fund for Agricultural Development to reduce its risks when lending to smallholders. Natura has worked with its suppliers to produce sustainable packaging, including a new “green” plastic derived from sugar cane.

在新型经济体中,企业似乎很难坚守一种专长,因为它们还得担忧如令人讨厌的基础设施和不可信赖的供应链等诸多大问题。 因此,领头羊们力求塑造业已掌控的经济环境。它们向监管机构游说,如巴西的有机糖生产商Grupo Balbo和巴西政府合作,以建立有机产品的认证体系,它们还同各级政府和非政府组织建立关系;肯尼亚的Equity Bank与国际农业发展基金等组织构建联盟关系,来降低小佃农的贷款风险。Natura与其供应商合作,生产可持续包装袋,其中包括从甘蔗中提炼出来的新 “绿色“垃圾袋。

The firms also work hard to reach and educate poor consumers, often sacrificing short-term profits to create future markets. Masisa organises local carpenters into networks and connects them to low-income furniture buyers. Broad Group has developed a miniature device for measuring air pollution that can fit into mobile phones. Jain Irrigation, an Indian maker of irrigation systems, uses dance and song to explain the benefits of drip irrigation to farmers who can’t read. Suntech, a Chinese solar-power company, has established a low-carbon museum to celebrate ways of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions.

这些企业还努力接触和教育贫苦消费者,时常为了开拓未来市场而牺牲短期利益。Masisa组织当地的工匠建立关系网,使他们和低收入的家俱买家间保持联系。远大集团给空调装上用来衡量空气污染的小型设备,可嵌入到手机里面。印度的灌溉系统制造商Jain Irrigation用舞蹈和音乐向那些不识字的农民解释滴管的好处。中国的太阳能企业尚德,建立了一家低碳博物馆,以宣传减二氧化碳碳排放的各种途径。

Rich because green, or green because rich?
绿富抑或富绿?

One could quibble with BCG’s analysis. Phil Rosenzweig of Switzerland’s IMD business school has argued that management writers are prone to “the halo effect”: they treat the temporary success of a company as proof that it has discovered some eternal principle of good management. The fact that some successful companies have embraced greenery does not prove that greenery makes a firm successful. Some firms, having prospered, find they can afford to splurge on greenery. Some successful firms pursue greenery for public-relations purposes. And for every sustainable emerging champion, there are surely 100 firms that have prospered by belching fumes into the air or pumping toxins into rivers, as a visit to China or India will show only too vividly.

有人对波士顿咨询公司的这份分析颇有异议。瑞士IMD商学院的Phil Rosenzweig就认为,管理作家倾向于“光环效应”:他们把企业短暂的成功用来证明其发现了优良管理的永恒法宝。一些成功企业支持环保事业的事实无法证明环保事业可以使企业获得成功。一些具有前景的企业认为它们有钱玩环保。还一些企业基于公共关系追求环保事业。至于这些“可持续发展领跑者”,可以肯定有100家企业是通过排放废气或有毒污水来壮大的。去中国或印度看看,那种场景再形象不过了。

Nonetheless, the central message of the WEF-BCG study—that some of the best emerging-world companies are combining profits with greenery—is thought-provoking. Many critics of environmentalism argue that it is a rich-world luxury: that the poor need adequate food before they need super-clean air. Some even see greenery as a rich-world conspiracy: the West grew rich by industrialising (and polluting), but now wants to stop the rest of the world from following suit. The WEF-BCG report demonstrates that such fears are overblown. Emerging-world companies can be just as green as their Western rivals. Many have found that, when natural resources are scarce and consumers are cash-strapped, greenery can be a lucrative business strategy.

不管怎样,世界经济论坛和波士顿咨询公司的这份研究的主旨---发展中国家中最好的一些企业将环保与盈利结合---令人深思。许多环保主义批评者认为这只是发达国家的奢侈品:穷人需要超洁空气之前要先解决温饱问题。甚至有些人将环保事业看作是发达国家的阴谋:西方通过工业化和污染致富,但现在却想要阻止不发达国家走同样的路线。该研究表明这些担忧被夸大了。发展中国家的企业也可以和西方的竞争者一样追求绿色。很多人早就发现,当自然资源日益短缺且消费者捉襟见肘的时候,环保事业不失为一项有利可图的商业策略。

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重点单词
  • encouragevt. 鼓励,促进,支持
  • pollutionn. 污染,污染物
  • conspiracyn. 阴谋
  • eternaladj. 永久的,永恒的 n. 永恒的事
  • affordableadj. 支付得起的,不太昂贵的
  • globaladj. 全球性的,全世界的,球状的,全局的
  • sourcen. 发源地,来源,原始资料
  • analysisn. 分析,解析
  • strategyn. 战略,策略
  • profitableadj. 有益的,有用的