The main focus of this year’s Opportunity Green conference was how businesses can accelerate sustainability. For the most part, the goal of convincing mainstream business of the value of engaging in corporate social responsibility efforts has been achieved. The problem is, it’s not enough. And the clock is ticking.
Two recent reports provide stark evidence that efforts to curb global carbon emissions are falling short. The Department of Energy is reporting that 2010 saw the largest increase in carbon emissions ever reported, surpassing the IPCC’s worst case scenario which predicts an increase in average global temperatures of 7.5° Fahrenheit by the end of the century. A report from the International Energy Agency released last week says that unless internationally coordinated action is taken to reduce carbon emissions by 2017, global temperatures could rise to dangerous levels. If we want to have even a prayer of making the reductions necessary to meet this goal, companies will need to start thinking bigger.
In order to accelerate sustainable solutions at a rate that will make a meaningful impact, we need to start addressing problems on a system-wide level and executing them on a larger scale. This was the theme of a thought-provoking keynote presentation given by Hannah Jones, VP of Sustainable Business and Innovation for Nike. According to Jones, the world is at a tipping point. In order to address the complex global problems we are confronting, we must start to accelerate the pace of change. Society is on the brink, teetering between an outdated paradigm and a new, innovative future. As she so eloquently puts it, “retrofitting the past is a very different strategy with very different outcomes than innovating for the future.” She offered three suggestions for how business can use innovation as a tool to start moving us toward a new future.
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Originally posted on Triple Pundit. Republished with kind permission.