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Startups go up and down like the Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX. Understanding how to make it sustainable is one of the more important parts of starting a company so let us get a short overview.

The three factors to consider when starting your startup that could help drive it in a sustainable future are: environment, society and economy. Taking into account these three factors can help your company have a sustainable future and benefits, providing the proficiency to face future risks, as well as capture opportunities and produce more value to the business, shareholders, employee and stakeholders. Integration means incorporating sustainability into the business strategy through the business model in order to create social and environmental value, in addition to the financial value.

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is the first reusable rocket in operation (Credits: SpaceX Flickr)

The reusable rockets of SpaceX and Blue Origin.

With their reusable rockets Falcon 9 and New Shepard System respectively, SpaceX and Blue Origin want to make space more accessible and profitable. In the environmental aspect by saving raw material to build rockets, in the financial by increasing profits margins, they aim to facilitate spaceflight and interplanetary ambitions as social aspect. They create jobs by investing in new technology research and development, while having live launches and creating hype through marketing to get the public interested in the space industry and the idea of living on Mars as something feasible in the not-so-far-future. The environment this creates is that one of dreams and the pursuit of deep space ambitions. Both SpaceX and Blue Origin have been very open with their technological advancements and tests. This has lead to other companies both commercial and public to invest more in launch aimed companies and fuel competition, which is good.

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The New Shepard booster flew to space and landed for second time (Credits: Blue Origin)

Guidelines for sustainability integration into business:

  • Business model thinking: creating a visual framework of the business model helps to clarify the company’s value proposition. 
  • Lifecycle thinking: driving business model innovation in sustainability requires life cycle thinking, which considers the economic, environmental, and social impacts of a product or service throughout the entire system. Design, processes, and operating procedures all feed into this workflow.
  • Sustainability methods: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a method that measures environmental aspects and impacts of a product’s life cycle. Nowadays, a large number of software tools and support organizations are available. An LCA result is the “carbon footprint” which is C02 equivalent emissions. 
  • Organization’s culture: understanding of sustainability issues to be incorporated into the company’s decision making should be in the culture of an organization as well as an openness to change and innovation. 
  • Integrated thinking: integrated thinking means taking into account both the business and sustainability aspects of your startup. Making an integrated report is related with transparency, it reflects the company’s approach to sustainability, how the company creates value, remarks opportunities and can also help to communicate the nature of its business model with employees, stakeholders and general public.

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Posted by Bryan Perez Ramirez