What is a green economy? Low carbon, resource efficiency, and social inclusivity. To achieve a shift toward a green economy, large-scale deployment of renewable energy infrastructure and electric vehicles is required. To ensure a fair and sustainable supply for a green future, primary and secondary raw materials are essential. To support this growth, more critical raw materials are needed, such as rare earths, lithium, and cobalt.1 To ensure truly green electric cars, raw materials need to be sourced sustainably. There are three ways to achieve this goal, according to Nature's review of materials.2
Re-use of the materials
Recycle materials into secondary raw materials, when the lifecycle is reached
Assure that any primary raw materials are sourced in a sustainable and fair way
It is important to look at managing a green economy from different angles. Looking at it from a different angle, it is vital to multi-source the supply of raw materials.
Trends in the Raw Material industry
Exploration and exploitation of raw materials play a part in human life and social development. Natural resources have been fundamental for civilization since the Stone Age, for humankind’s development. Current dynamics in the raw material market are mostly dominated by material shortages and price increases. After the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, economists expected a longer crisis. However, the world recovered faster than predicted, which caused a shortage in raw materials supply due to ongoing supply chain turbulences.3
To achieve the main goal set by the European Commission in regards to closing the gap between research and the market and transferring scientific know-how and applied research results via successful market realization, it is vital to equip high-level education with cross-disciplinary skills-4 The raw materials sector provides more than 30 million jobs in the EU589107 , but raw materials industries are facing skills shortages, due to a lack of public awareness. Therefore, it is crucial to equip them with key competencies that empower their entrepreneurial skills, creative thinking, and problem-solving to achieve lifelong learning.6 Nevertheless, it is also important to upskill educational staff. The European Commission supports the development of new skills via different programs, as EIT RawMaterials has identified the ESEE Region as a priority. Due to its great potential for rapid development in technology and innovation.
With economic growth comes a greater burden on natural resources. Despite the fact that Slovakia has a developed economy, the government has proposed better economical practices for then environment. By 2030, Slovakia will consider the possibility of expanding environmental taxes in individual areas, and on the basis of this, the selected measures will be applied in such a way that their total volume increases. As stated in the Environmental policy strategy of the Slovak Republic until 20307 , the Ministry is also planning to improve the quality of environmental education and build awareness for a sustainable environment. Through educational practices, the Ministry wants to promote responsible production, consumption, and nature protection.
Science is a key strategic aspect of development in modern society. To achieve an advanced development of states, countries support scientific research. It has a significant social and economic impact on country’s international competitiveness and attractiveness.8 R&D centers play a significant role in top-level research, which leads to new discoveries and development. On a large scale, the aim of the research is to contribute to the long-term security of the state's supply. To achieve advanced development, research centers carry out various activities, from explanatory frontier research to raising a new generation of scientists. Often, these centers cooperate with universities and the government and help with the creation of the entire educational process10.9
Business organizations are in demand to source green materials and component parts. This way, companies are pushed to adopt sustainable business practices. Companies face rapidly increasing challenges and opportunities for growth and value creation in the face of a volatile and limited supply of natural resources, environmental concerns, rising prices, and uncertainty. To address these issues, businesses should adopt a circular economy business model that promotes economic development within the constraints of natural resources.