Undoubtedly, sustainability is gaining rapidly increasing interest, but will sustainability really change the competitive landscape, and if so, how? These are the basic issues addressed in the First Annual Business of Sustainability Survey by MIT Sloan Management Reviews, BCS and the SAS Institute. Based on a survey of 1.500 executives and in-depth interviews, the key findings confirm that companies indeed address sustainability issues in various ways, that sustainability is surviving the downturn, but that there are still many things to learn in terms of better integration and higher strategic decisiveness regarding sustainability issues.
Unfortunately, we are currently witnessing one of the worst natural catastrophes ever, with the oil leak in the Mexican Gulf. Various perspectives on the issue, including its business aspects, can be found through the blow links, which are only indicative of the tremendous information flow around the problem.
The Company Scorecard by ClimateCounts.org, a non-profit collaborative effort to bring consumers and companies together in the fight against global climate change, indicates how serious companies are about stopping climate change – and how they compare to their sector competitors. The annually updated scorecard reflects the self-reported efforts of companies to address climate change.
Other interesting activities of the organization include the Industry Innovator Program that promotes innovative solutions to climate challenges.
Where is Green Business going and moving under the shadow of the economic crisis? Two recent reports provide an optimistic outlook.
The report Green Evolution: Managing the Risks, Reaping the Benefits published by the IGEL institute of the Wharon Scool and the University of Pennsylvania, provide analysis and examples showing how many sustainability efforts can more than pay for themselves, both financially and with image-building benefits. Some of the most fertile areas of potential payback involve lowering energy and water use, and adopting product lifecycle analyses.
From GreenBiz and Greener World Media, the third State of Green Business Report for 2010 shows that green business activity did not go away amid the harsh economic environment. It survived, and even thrived.
Reducing oil dependence. Strengthening energy security. Creating jobs. Tackling global warming. Addressing air pollution. Improving our health. There are many reasons for focusing on reducing carbon emissions, as listed by the Union of Concerned Scientists in their report “Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy”. Studying the US situation, the number 1 emittor of CO2, the reprt provides a unique outlook for transforming energy habits leading to a sustainable future development.
Almost a decade ago Peter Senge and Goran Carstedt published a seminal article in Sloan Management Review entitled “Innovating our Way to the Next Industrial Revolution”. Their central thesis: Industrial and consumption-based systems must approach natural systems and become cyclical, minimizing waste and maximizing re-use of whatever remains as externalities of the systems.
Ten years some things have happened. Green innovation and clean technologies find various applications, and sustainable entrepreneurship has also become a notion attracting attention by business angles and venture investors. Some interesting resources for further exploration include:
- Green Innovation, a site dedicated to news and tips of how to live more environmentally-friendly,
- ‘Cradle-to-Cradle’, product design that aims at doing away with the concept of waste,
- Sustainable Entrepreneurship, how entrepreneurship can help resolve the environmental problems of global socio-economic systems.
The Climate Meeting in Copenhagen has at least achieved to place the problematic of climate change on the top of the public agenda, hopefully with a sustainable effect on individual behaviour for minimizing human impact on the environment. News updates, comments and certainly aftermath discussions can be found in all leading media, e.g., CNN, BBC, Financial Times. Moreover, the polemic around the politics in the debate about climate change continues, with a central role played by Prof. Michael Mann.
Between December 7 and 18, the much awaited United Nations 2009 Climate Change Conference will take place in Copenhagen, with delegates from all over the world. The overwhelming objective of this “COP15″ conference is to achieve, or at least significantly pave the way for, a global treaty to protect the world’s climate; a successor to the legally binding Kyoto Protocol. Updates on the preparations and a wide range of climate related information can be found on the website of the conference, the European Environmental Agency (including a short video), and on the open-to-citizens initiative Road to Copenhagen.
Industrial Ecology is an emerging approach for finding innovative solutions to complicated environmental problems, and facilitating communication among scientists, engineers, policymakers and managers who are interested in better integrating environmental concerns with economic activities. The mission of the International Society for Industrial Ecology is to promote the use of industrial ecology in research, education, policy, community development, and industrial practices. The concept and ideas of Industrial Ecology are also nicely presented in an Introduction Paper from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.
“The world as you’ve never seen it before” is the subtitle of this fascinating, enlightening and though-provoking collection of maps of our planet. The maps use equal area cartograms where territories are re-sized on each map according to a particular variable. The site covers 200 territories, mainly United Nation Member States plus a few others to include at least 99.95% of the world’s population. Many map categories, such as “pollution” and “resources” focus on how the planet is exploited with respect to north and south, richer and poorer.