Latest News

Innovation replacing efficiency

  • Date: Sun, Jul 3, 2016

Share this article

Original article in Sunday Business Post 03/07/16

Eco innovation is replacing eco efficiency in technology, according to one of Ireland’s leading experts on sustainability, Dr Aideen O’Dochartaigh.

Dr Aideen O’Dochartaigh, an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow at UCD, said the focus was switching from companies focusing solely on cost-cutting to ways sustainable technology could generate revenue.

Dr Aideen O’Dochartaigh, an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow at UCDFergal Phillips

“Partnerships between businesses are the way to go, creating a system of industrial ecology where companies use each other’s waste to make their own products. It’s kind of a circular economy,” said O’Dochartaigh.

“The focus used to be on eco efficiency, finding ways just to save money for businesses. Now, it’s about eco innovation, developing new products and new ways of doing things. That makes the environment the focus, seeing the business opportunity in environmental challenges. It’s about seeing the opportunity to innovate, more than just seeing the benefits of turning your office lights off. It’s a much bigger scale.”

O’Dochartaigh said the tech sector was paying far more attention to resource issues and this was driving urgency on sustainability issues.

“There’s far more focus in industry as a whole on sustainability now than there was ten years ago. It’s recognised on a global level, but there is the danger of the word sustainability being over used,” she said.

“If everyone in the world lived the way we do in the western world, it would take three planets to support us. Most of the world is not living at the standard we are, so to make the developing world developed, we are going to find ways to use fewer natural resources and find more innovative ways to use the resources we have.”



Discover our Rankings and Accreditations