One of the biggest problems that engineers face is how to make their products successful and sustainable. Ethical engineering entrepreneurs lack the opportunities to grow, while engineering in practice requires multidisciplinary change.
We propose a new start-up incubator, to amplify the voices of entrepreneurs looking to develop environmentally and ethically beneficial engineering projects. The incubator would provide a centralised office space in which members could work collaboratively, and make use of provided equipment, administrative services, and mentoring. The scheme could also provide a small amount of funding to the enterprises. This program would not only help new businesses negotiate the challenges of turning an idea into a fully functioning company, but would help train the next generation of engineering professionals to think deeply about every impact their work has, during their time in the incubator and beyond.
Motivated by the climate emergency and the need for urgent, collaborative action, we propose a parallel currency that evaluates the environmental, ethical, and social impacts of engineering projects. Due to centuries of reliance on supply and demand as the main mechanism for resource allocation, influencing the price of a good, we recognise that the nature of the planet, and our future on it, depends on so much more. Departing from purely financial incentives, this global currency seeks to be enforced at the government level, encouraging the pursuit of sustainable development by all. This will require a multidisciplinary network of academics working alongside economists and mathematicians to quantify the impact of each input reflecting these parameters. For government tendered projects, this currency should supersede the financial cost of proposed projects, if government promises for sustainability are to materialise. This will set a new precedent where the engineering projects that win the bid are the most globally responsible in the parameters.