Turkey: How Does Sustainable Entrepreneurship Lead To Gaining A Sustainable Competitive Advantage?

Last Updated: 4 October 2016
Article by İzel Levi Coşkun

Today, as the effects of global climate change are being increasingly felt, notions such as sustainable development, stakeholder participation, corporate social responsibility, environmental impact, Global Reporting Standards and integrated reporting have begun to play an important part in the corporate strategies of not only international establishments but also those of Turkish companies. The most concrete proof for this is that 68 companies in Turkey are publishing regular sustainability reports today, in comparison to just a handful of companies in 2007...

An increasing number of entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship has begun to attract serious attention in Turkey in recent years, as a factor that allows economies to grow dynamically and makes the greatest contribution to employment. The existence of global non-profits such as Endeavour, the increased importance attributed to entrepreneurship in educational institutions, the development and proximity of techno-parks, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organisation (KOSGEB) and Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) funds and grants; angel investor incentives through the Angel Investment System (BKS) and the expansion of angel investor networks, the establishment of incubation centres and developments such as the "Special Stock Exchange" that was set up in November 2014 all continue to contribute to the creation of an entrepreneurship ecosystem in Turkey. All these newly introduced elements have a natural impact on the increased popularity of entrepreneurship in Turkey, as well as the increasing number of entrepreneurs in comparison to previous years.

The first definition of sustainable development, which was made in 1987, is as follows: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This definition calls for long-term planning to replace the general tendency to make short- term plans. It requires that interests be structured not at the individual level but in such a manner so as to encompass the whole system. It asks the stakeholders to be a part of the decision-making process and to replace conflict with cooperation. The definition above also makes it a vital prerequisite to take into account what the social and environmental impact of any step to be taken might be. Furthermore in order for development to be sustainable there are two prime requirements: resource and energy saving, and innovation...

The following data contain the results of the examination of some sustainable development indices in Turkey: The cleantech innovation index which stands at 4.5 in developed countries ranges between 1.0 and 1.5 in Turkey.

In The World Energy Council Report 2012, Turkey ranks 84th in mitigating the environmental impact of energy production and it stands at number 62 among 94 countries in the energy sustainability index. The share of Turkey's renewable energy resources in electricity production is 2 percent.

The level of carbon emission, which increased by 24 percent between 1990 and 2009, reached 422.4 million tons as of 2011. Carbon emission was reduced by 2 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year. It dropped by 1.1 percent in 2013 compared to the year before.

According to the 2015 data announced by the Turkish Statistical Institute the rate of unemployment rate stands at 10.4.

What is sustainable entrepreneurship?

One of my favourite definitions of entrepreneurship is "An entrepreneur is one who can spot the difference between opportunities and threats, and can turn both into opportunities." If we can treat the results of the above analyses and indices as opportunities rather than threats, we will see that there are many niche areas to fill and plenty of opportunities take in Turkey when it comes to sustainable entrepreneurship.

However at this point I must point out that although educational institutions, foundations, associations, private companies, public bodies and many other stakeholders are coming together to set up an entrepreneurship ecosystem due to the trust and belief in the added value that entrepreneurship creates in the economy, I cannot say that the same approach is being adopted when it comes to sustainability.

In fact such a need is what calls for a definition of sustainable entrepreneurship. Sustainable entrepreneurship starts off on the assumption that social, environmental and economic impact should co-exist in equilibrium. It encompasses a wide array of entrepreneurship types from non-profit social entrepreneurship that aims to create social transformation to ones that develop sustainable business practices. In short, these entrepreneurs strive to turn social and environmental problems into business opportunities to benefit the environment and society with added value. The key here is that such a process should take into account not only the interests of the entrepreneur but also that of the whole system, and that "money" should not be the only measuring instrument.

Competitors turn into stakeholders

How can sustainable entrepreneurship lead to gaining a sustainable competitive advantage? As Porter have stated, gaining advantage over competitors using attribute(s) that allow an organisation to outperform its competition constitutes the root of sustainable competitive advantage. Looking at the four strategies of differentiation, competitive advantage, innovation and operational efficiency that that are used to gain a competitive advantage, we should be able to assume that the strategy to be used in entrepreneurship should naturally be innovation. Today, at a time when concepts such as green supply-chain, clean production, industrial symbiosis, open innovation, sharing economy and non-profit social entrepreneurship are becoming increasingly important, we are witnessing that rivals are also becoming a part of the definition of stakeholders. This makes it compulsory that we adopt a broader perspective.

In light of all this, giving the following steps priority will prove beneficial to the creation of a sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem:

  • The meaning of "sustainable development" and the importance of social and environmental responsibility for future generations' right to live must be explained and understood;
  • Starting from a young age, the education system must teach and emphasise the fact that there are many other values that are way more important than money in a society and social awareness of social and environmental responsibilities must be created;
  • NGOs, educational institutions, the state, private establishments and all other entrepreneurship-related organisations, and entrepreneurs must organise fact-finding conferences and ensure coordination with respect to sustainability;
  • An infrastructure that will encourage establishments and entrepreneurships in particular to assume an active role in the implementation of the articles regarding human rights, environment, employee rights and anti-corruption, as mentioned in the UN Global Compact, must be set up;
  • As part of item 4, efforts must be made to ensure the integration of entrepreneurship and sustainability in the 6 areas (supportive culture, efficient policies, financial resources, human power, appropriate market, corporate support and infrastructure facilities) that were put forward in the model for the creation of an entrepreneurship ecosystem.

I believe we will take the first steps towards a more sustainable future where the parties involved are stakeholders and the advantage to be gained will benefit all stakeholders, rather than one where the competitive advantage will be at the individual level.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions