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商业 - 能源

化解人类资源危机需要再来一场工业革命

Brian Dumaine 2014年04月08日

传统观念认为,地球的资源总有耗光的一天,届时人类将走向灭亡。但罗杰斯认为,借助新的工业革命,采用新的技术,抛弃传统能源消费观,人类可以大幅提高资源生产率,避免这个危机。

    未来15年,发展中国家将有25亿人进入中产阶级。在可预见的未来,中国每年将诞生2.5个规模相当于芝加哥的新城市;截至2025年,中国人口超过百万的城市将达到221个(目前,欧洲百万人口城市仅有35个)。这种增长速度必将使得石油、天然气、钢材、贵金属、水和其他宝贵资源的需求出现前所未有的增长。如果我们继续当前的消耗水平,商品价格、食物价格和污染水平就会激增,给商界带来日益严峻的风险。

    麦肯锡(McKinsey)董事马特•罗杰斯和斯坦福大学(Stanford)教授斯蒂芬•赫克在合作撰写的新书《资源革命:如何抓住本世纪最大的商机》(Resource Revolution: How To Capture the Biggest Business Opportunity in a Century)一书中颇有见地地提出了管理者应该如何改变对资源的认识,才能让自己的公司在21世纪不仅生存下去,还能茁壮成长。

    《财富》杂志(Fortune)的布莱恩•杜梅因近期采访了马特•罗杰斯,讨论了4月1日出版的这本新书。

    传统的能源观念认为,我们即将耗光资源,人类将走向灭亡。但你们认为,我们会进入一场所谓的“资源革命”,而这将是21世纪最大的经济机遇。

    未来二十年,全球经济增长将导致我们面临资源压力,许多人已经对此心存忧虑。而我们之所以有信心写这本书,是因为我们看到,人类可以将纳米技术、材料学、信息技术和生物学的进步与传统工业技术相结合,来满足资源需求,而且难度要低于大多数人的预期。

    能举个例子吗?

    要想节约资源,我们必须大幅提高生产率,而它意味着要从根本上改变我们生产产品和应对客户的方式。而这种跳跃是要将生产率提高十倍。我们喜欢开玩笑说,你买一辆车就是为了停车——我们使用汽车的时间往往仅有4%,而其中有一半的时间汽车是在空转,或者是我们在给它寻找停车位。于是各种新型商业模式就有了用武之地,例如拼车服务Zipcar、在线出租车公司Uber和Lyft等。他们可以帮助提高汽车的使用率,这意味着我们没有必要因为人口增多而增加汽车生产。大家可能会说,我们对汽车的需求可能在某个时刻达到顶点。许多年轻人并不想花一大笔钱来养一辆车。

    你在书中还提到节约资源的另外一种方式,也就是将设备看成一种服务。

    没错,通用电气(GE)现在就在按使用时间出售喷气式引擎。通用电气拥有引擎,同时提供所有的维护。引擎上配有传感器,使通用电气可对引擎进行监控和维修。相比航空公司的维护,通用电气自行维护可以让引擎保持更长时间的运行,提高运行效率。由此可以节省巨额运营费用——航空公司无需购买更多飞机,因为他们拥有的飞机可以飞行更长时间。通用电气开始在医疗设备,甚至油田设备领域采用同样的模式。

    Over the next 15 years, another 2.5 billion people in the developing world will join the middle class. China will add 2½ new cities the size of Chicago every year for the foreseeable future and will have 221 cities with over a million in population by 2025 (compared with 35 cities this size in Europe today). That kind of growth is going to create an unprecedented demand for oil, gas, steel, precious metals, water, and other precious resources. If we keep on our current course of consumption, commodity prices, food prices, and pollution levels are likely to spike, greatly increasing risks for business.

    In their insightful new book Resource Revolution: How To Capture the Biggest Business Opportunity in a Century McKinsey director Matt Rogers and Stanford Professor Stefan Heck lay out a compelling road map for how managers need to change the way they think about resources if they want to not only survive but also thrive in the 21st Century.

    Fortune's Brian Dumaine caught up with Matt Rogers recently to discuss the book, which will be published on April 1.

    The conventional wisdom about resources is that we're running out, and we're all going to die. But you believe we're about to enter what you call a a resource revolution and that it will be the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century.

    Over the next two decades global growth will stress our resources, and that has a lot of people concerned. What gave us confidence to write the book is that we saw that you could combine advances in nanotechnology, materials science, information technology, and biology with traditional industrial technologies and meet resource requirements more easily than most expect.

    Can you give us an example?

    If we want to conserve our resources, we need to see big jumps in productivity, and that means fundamental changes in the way we make products and work with our customers. We're talking about 10X productivity improvements. We like to joke that you buy a car in order to park -- typically we only use our cars 4% of the time, and half of that time cars sit idle in traffic or looking for parking. This is where new business models like the car sharing service Zipcar, and online taxi companies like Uber and Lyft come into play. They can help increase usage of cars, and that means that we won't have to build as many cars for an increasing population. You might even say we might hit peak demand for autos at some point. Many of the new generation don't want to spend a large chunk of capital to own a car.

    You also say in the book that another way to save resources is to see equipment as a service.

    Yes, GE (GE) now sells jet engines by the hour of use. GE owns the engines and does all the servicing. It has sensors on engines today that let them monitor and repair them. The company can keep these engines running longer and better than the airlines can. The operational savings are significant -- the airlines don't have to buy as many planes because the ones they have are in the air longer. GE is starting to do the same thing with medical equipment, and even oilfield equipment.

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