menu

Environmental Planning: From Science to Business

Environmental Planning: From Science to Business
Advertising
Tamara Giltsoff
  • 23 march 2009


Message 3) Long-term strategy

Rapid, sustained, and effective mitigation based on coordinated global and regional action is required to avoid “dangerous climate change” regardless of how it is defined. Weaker targets for 2020 increase the risk of crossing tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050 targets more difficult. Delay in initiating effective mitigation actions increases significantly the long-term social and economic costs of both adaptation and mitigation.

The point is that business and government need to accelerate the massive reductions in carbon emissions, regardless of perceived impact on the bottom line today. Sir Nicolas Stern made it quite clear, in 2006, that global warming will shrink the economy 20% (at a minimum), but if we invest 1% of global GDP now we can dramatically reduce this over time. Mitigating climate change through business innovation needs to be a core business objective: the long term view. And it’s starting to happen, with companies like Gap, E-bay Symantec, Nike, Timberland, Sun Microsystems, Starbucks Coffee Company and Levis Strauss founding or joining The Business Coalition for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy. The goal is to bring business and congress together to pass ‘meaningful’ energy and climate change legislation.

Take away: Lead the debate and legislation development with business allies. And build ‘climate mitigation’ into the long term business plan.

Message 4) Equity dimensions
Climate change is having, and will have, strongly differential effects on people within and between countries and regions, on this generation and future generations, and on human societies and the natural world. An effective, well-funded adaptation safety net is required for those people least capable of coping with climate change impacts, and a common but differentiated mitigation strategy is needed to protect the poor and most vulnerable.

Why? Businesses must understand that poor nations and communities at risk, the other side of the world, are a global economic and environmental issue, or ‘net cost’. Take for instance illegal logging of Indonesian rainforests. Desperate for fast cash returns loggers strip the rainforest of un-managed trees, sell the wood cheaply to China who turn the wood into furniture that’s then shipped to another country, like America, for a brand to distribute and sell. Forests are also being stripped to create mass supply of biofuels. All the way along the value chain the logger loses, as does the rainforest and the climate. The brand also eventually loses because the source of its value disappears (the trees), and will be hit by the cost of climate change. The only winner is net CO2 atmospheric level (a win-lose situation). It is these communities who will suffer most under climate change yet are most dependent on the natural capital they destroy – for us to buy. In the end, we all lose.

Take away: Investment and innovation are needed to support poor communities with social innovation and climate mitigation strategies today (eg, supporting rural loggers), as their adaptation needs of the future change, because we (the rich nations) rely on these communities for rich sources of natural and human capital to fuel the global economy. Environmental issues are a truly global economic driver. For a brand, that might mean investing in parts of the supply chain and markets, which they once otherwise externalized.

Message 5) Inaction is inexcusable
There is no excuse for inaction. We already have many tools and approaches — economic, technological, behavioural, management — to deal effectively with the climate change challenge. A wide range of benefits will flow from a concerted effort to alter our energy economy now, including sustainable energy job growth, reductions in the health and economic costs of climate change, and the restoration of ecosystems and revitalisation of ecosystem services.

Take away: Um, yes! Building the new energy economy and an economy of restoration (restoring natural capital) will create value for business and stimulate the job market. Stern suggests earmarking 20% of global GDP or $400 billion over the next year for green investment. Contrary to short-term business planning, the investment freeze and dealing with ‘crises’, now is the time to be focusing investment on sustainable innovation opportunities and energy efficiencies. Which is really the essence of all these messages.

6) Meeting the challenge
To achieve the societal transformation required to meet the climate change challenge, we must overcome a number of significant constraints and seize critical opportunities. These include reducing inertia in social and economic systems; building on a growing public desire for governments to act on climate change; removing implicit and explicit subsidies; reducing the influence of vested interests that increase emissions and reduce resilience; enabling the shifts from ineffective governance and weak institutions to innovative leadership in government, the private sector and civil society; and engaging society in the transition to norms and practices that foster sustainability.

Take away: the public is aware of climate change, to a degree, but needs to be more aware of emerging data on climate AND many other related issues (such as water), to shift belief systems, lifestyles and ultimately drive new types of demand. (The public being global citizens who also happen to be business leaders or policy makers).

These urgent 6 messages need to be heard by the public and translated into digestible communications, belief systems (an ideology) and new ways of consuming that support a low carbon, restoration and sustainable economy. That is a massively critical role of educating the public/business, a role that brands can take on. We’ve seen M&S enter this realm, educating their audience on packaging and supply chain issues with their “Look Behind The Label” work. That’s what I am talking about. There is space to educate in every capacity of the ever-emerging climate/environmental science and economic agenda. John Grant, author of The Green Marketing Manifesto, describes this as a “Knowledge role” for brands. Now we know plastic bottles are bad, who’s going to tell the world about the poor management of water and the looming shortage of supply?

– Contributed by Tamara Giltsoff, Sustainability Strategist

Advertising
Trending

How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Retail
Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Related Expert

Daniel Hirschmann

Entrepreneur, Technology Maker, Educator

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned Teaching 7th Grade Math

Bree Groff, Managing Director at NOBL NYC, shares her secrets for knowing your employees and enabling a team

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

Culture september 23, 2016

This Exhibition’s Crowning Jewel Is An 18k Gold-Plated Toilet

The piece, titled 'America,' is meant to raise questions about the country's wealth inequality

Culture september 23, 2016

Match Up With Dates On Tinder Based On Your Music Preferences

A new partnership with Spotify lets people pair up based on shared tastes in artists

Entertainment september 23, 2016

Capture, Cut Up, And Configure Your World In 360 Degrees

To meet a booming 360 and VR video-capturing industry, a multimedia software company bolstered its media editing suite for 360-video creation

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Advertising september 23, 2016

These Trucks Drove Around In Circles For 24 Hours To Keep Time

The giant ticking clock was created by 14 Scania vehicles in a deserted airfield

Advertising september 23, 2016

Buy Movie Tickets Directly From Your Facebook Profile

The new feature is part of a campaign from Fandango to further imbed social media into the ticket vendor's digital presence

Asia september 23, 2016

Co-Working Space Brings The Calming Atmosphere Of Nature Indoors

An architectural firm in China has designed a new type of shared office that prioritizes the natural environment

No search results found.