While it may not seem as important as other areas of Strategic research, at B4B we think that there are some basic needs that are on God’s heart:
• Clean food
• Clean water
• Clean air
They are the Creation Commission part of our B4B business values. We are charged with stewarding and subduing the planet. Both are important. Additionally, each human on the planet needs those basic things to sustain life. In many places they are not available. That’s not only part of God’s mandate to us, but an opportunity to bless people through business. It’s basic and fundamental.
When I moved to China I was advised by Chinese friends not to eat food processed in China, that it wasn’t clean. Recent studies have shown that the water in China is often not fit to even water the crops. The air in the big cities is notoriously noxious. I have friends who have turned down jobs in Beijing because they didn’t want to subject their children to such poor air quality.
These are areas that I believe we should be watching and looking at for business opportunities.
Clean Food: We can disagree culturally and legally about what might be a “human right” but it’s hard to disagree that human beings need food that is not full of poisons and contains enough nutrients to sustain life. A friend is putting up organic greenhouses in an area of China where more than 50% of the children do not have a diet that gives them the proper nutrients. Another is doing “big ag” in Africa to demonstrate and teach good farming methods. They set up small-hold local farms and buy their produce to create a market for them. We would like to do clean fish farming that could be franchised into businesses in many villages. If you are interested, contact us.
Clean Water: The UNDP Human Development Report, 2006 (http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr_2006_summary_en.pdf) states that more than 1 billion people do not have access to clean water and 2.6 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. Lack of clean water is the 2nd biggest killer of children. Typically the solution is looked at as development or non-profit however, we believe it will only be solved when business becomes involved. Only business is sustainable and scalable. Development eats up resources, business creates them. Perhaps it’s through desalinization processes, or new technology for sanitation. Maybe it’s cleaning water through new technology. These would be businesses that truly bless our world.
Clean Air: I moved to Chengdu, China in 2004. At that time they had the fastest growth in car ownership of any city in China, but no control on emissions. One day I walked for about a half an hour and had to stop at the drugstore to get cough medicine before I could go home. I came to Los Angeles in the 1970s. I can remember the first day I found it hard to breathe when working outside. Today Los Angeles has mostly cleaned up its air through emission controls on cars. So clearly, governments have to do their part. But there are also opportunities for business. When we first began to require cleaning up smokestack emissions, we found that it produced income by reclaiming the chemicals. Is there an invention we could help commercialize into new technology that does not produce pollutants or that reclaims pollutants. These would be businesses that bless.
I believe that clean food, water and air are fundamental and on God’s heart for His children. Why don’t we develop strategies to provide business solutions? How would you approach it?