Climate adaptation, preparing for the effects of climate change, often gets overlooked in sustainable business discussions. However, it presents some powerful and innovative opportunities for entrepreneurs. If you look only at the photos of my new favorite blog, you’ll see two smiling women gallivanting across the USA: dipping their feet in the sea, hitching rides on golf carts and literally hugging trees. But look a little closer and read the posts, and you’ll soon realize this is not a frivolous cross-country jaunt. Kirsten Howard and Allie Goldstein embarked on the Great American Adaptation Road Trip to explore how businesses, municipalities, communities and individuals are preparing for the repercussions of climate change.
Population was on the mind of many attendees of the World Economic Forum’s 7th Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China this week, even if the word was rarely spoken. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Meeting the Innovation Imperative.” Implicit to the theme, however, was the fact that the imperative for innovation is driven in large part by a bloated global population that reached seven billion in 2011 and is on its way to nine billion by 2050.
At a Wall Street Journal conference in 2009, then White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel stated that one should never let a crisis go to waste. In this sense, the 2008 financial crisis is just like any other crisis: a disaster and an opportunity. A disaster because it led to the destruction of $4 trillion worth of global assets, millions of people losing their livelihood, and bringing the whole economic system incredibly close to a cataclysmic meltdown.
“Goodbye sustainability, hello resilience,” recently wrote Andrew Zolli, co-author with Ann Marie Healy of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back. Resilience, as defined in their book, is “the capacity of a system, enterprise, or a person to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances” – an ideal attribute of any system especially in the face of unexpected events, such as the recent natural disasters, or more subtle disturbances that have systemic consequences. (more…)
The teetering Eurozone and the unstable global economy are the biggest issues facing the world today, said business, academic and governmental leaders this week. Following close behind, however, was resource scarcity, which ranked No. 4 among the top 10 global trends leaders named in the Global Agenda Survey, run by the World Economic Forum Network of Global Agenda Councils, and released Tuesday. Although the list was mostly dominated by political and economic concerns, some key sustainability issues were at the top of leaders’ minds. Climate change also made it into the top 10, although the timing of the survey – which was taken before Hurricane Sandy hit New York City – may have kept climate issues from climbing higher on the list, which captures the opinions, insights and expertise of the 900 global experts here in Dubai for the Summit on the Global Agenda.
Since the end of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the general sentiment on the outcome has not been very positive, to say the least. It has been described as anything from “disappointing” to “a failure of epic proportions.” If there is any optimism to be offered, it is in the voluntary actions taken by civil society and businesses. But an outlook of a collective, global agenda towards sustainable development largely looks grim. Is global sustainable development even possible?
This is the first part in a two-part series on the role of systems thinking in business solutions for sustainable development. Here is part 2. For most of us, it is rare to go through a single day without hearing the words “sustainability” or “green” applied to anything from Apple products to Zinfandels. The widespread use and the trendiness of these terms by businesses have evolved them into almost catch-all phrases that seem applicable to any sector. Nevertheless, the underlying ideas and needs are common.