During the last couple of month we RESD Students had an interesting time while following our course in Green Strategy and Sustainable Innovation. In this course we talked a lot about generic stuff like “What is sustainability for a company?!”, and we were surprised that it is not so easy to answer this question. In fact, we learned that in todays world it is difficult to follow a business paradigm that is different from the established way of doing business.
The slogan the business of business is business seems outdated nowadays, because if the performance of a company gets measured only by its financial terms a lot of things get missed on the way. A company is a lot more than only shareholders that want big dividends for their trust and CEOs doing literally anything to reach this goal; all the other stakeholders have not such an importance. Environment, personell, customers, do not get a treatment like they should in a society where money rules them all.
What we learned in this course is that there exist some people out there that are working hard on new business paradigms that could break the supremacy of shareholder primacy and short-termism. Here I will provide you the most important ones so you can check them out!
The Circular Economy (link), an economy without waste or pollution
Sharing Economy (link) based on collaborative consumption
If you enjoy TED Talks as much as I do then you will certainly enjoy the following speech by Paul Gilding, a famous author (The Great Disruption) and consultant in the field of sustainability and resources.
Although this TED is from 2012 it is still accurate today, when he states that human mankind uses Earths resources in a way that is not sustainable citing the outcomes from the resources of the Global Footprint Network, according to whom 1.5 Earths would be needed to sustain our current economy and will grow even more over the next decades. The Australian former executive director of Greenpeace International claims that it is not possible that ongoing growth will lead to a disruptions all over the world, and that only a big crisis can change the actual situation. Unfortunately his speech is quite general and gives not clear answers on the question “how could humanity grow up and leave this area of no limits?”.
Personally I do not agree with Gilding on most of his statements because I think that he sees a lot of things in a very negative way (e.g. when he talks about the carbon bubble bursting or upcoming wars). What also bothered me while watching his speech was the necessity of a crisis from here earth and society should rise (somehow) like a phoenix from the ashes.
I suggest you to watch the TED and let me know what you think about this thoughts of impact people like Gilding think on our planets future!
It was never easier then now to reach the most remote places on earth, or to get the most exotic fruits from the furthest South American rainforest, and no end is in sight. In fact, transport will be growing strongly in the upcoming decades; with the progressing globalization and cheaper technologies, the transport of persons and goods will reach much higher levels then nowadays, where transport systems have a significant impact on the environment accounting for between 20% – 25% of world energy consumption and CO2 emissions. All this traffic will have a huge impact on the environment of the whole planet, so one way to avoid some very bad pollution, accidents, commuting problems ecc.. could be to make transport more sustainable in the sense of social, environmental and climate impacts. Obviously all this should happen in a framework where it is possible to take up the opportunities offered by increased mobility.
So which are the possibilities to reach this goals? One way are Green vehicles that have less envirmonmental impact than equivalent standard vehicles, speaking electric/hybrid vehicles for private use but also in public transport. In urban planning there is another way of keeping city centres sustainable in transport: increasing pedestrian areas and bicycle lanes as those two are the most sustainable ways of transport, but also carsharing are good ways to reduce the different kinds of impacts. The fast progressing electrification of cars can help substantially to keep cities and the environment in general clean.
If you want to see some empirical application of the stuff above check out Denmarks Campaign “State of Green” where they show how things are done in Denmark.
Like Pushkar I went to Ecomondo, and there I had the very special opportunity to test drive the new Toyota Mirai, the first hydrogen powered mass produced car EVER!
The reason why I am so hyped about this car is because it is a revolutionary step in the mobility sector: Powered with hydrogen it produces just vapor from the tailpipe. The electricity produced that powers the electric motor with 155 hp and max speed of 180 km/h comes from a fuel cell that transforms hydrogen into electric power.
The possible range with one fuel load is around 550 km which makes it comparable to the max range of conventional cars with combustion motors.
Enough theoretical facts, how is it to drive this 80.000 € car? It is very silent! When you start the engine you can hear just a silent buzzzzzzzing sound coming from the electric engine. Lifting your leg from the break lets the car moves and just a slight push on the acceleration pedal is like “whooooww, that’s fast!”. Handling is fine and harmonic, the interior is futuristic but still cleaned up and organized.
One big problem with hydrogen cars is that the gas station net is very weak or not simply not existing; the car I tested has to be refilled at Bolzano where the only plant for refilling hydrogen in Italy is located.
With all the Grexit and Iranian atom discussions you may missed some important news when it comes to sustainable development.
This days the third international conference on financing for development is happening in Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia. The people that meet there are ministers for foreign affairs and finances from all over the world, and they discuss on how to spend more than 172.000 billion dollars over the next 15 years. The main goal for them is to fulfill the so called new sustainable development goals SDGS that will replace the old millennium development goals MDGS that have been criticised by a lot of experts working in the field and will expire this year.
The goals that have to be reached in the SDGS are somewhat the same as the ones of the previous years: the reduction of poverty and hunger, the incentivation of a sustainable economic growth, to preserve the environment, and to protect the human rights and the empowerment of woman rights.
This agenda post 2015 tries to reduce all kinds of inequality. This is also true for all kinds of economic inequality in terms of trade, no country should be left behind alone while facing all the challenges that await in the next 15 years. Therefore the 130 countries that are represented at the conference have to act now!
Here is the link to the live stream of the conference. Right now the main committee is convened. Check it out!