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OPINION: Accounting needs to adapt to the circular economy

Photo: Maj-Lis Koivisto

We often hear about how hard it is to change the course of large ships, and as an analogy our current economic system seems to be hard to turn away from its course of counter-sustainability. However, large tankers DO make it into port. I would like to offer the idea that our economy can change course too. As with large ships, we need to understand and master the controls. Very few talk about accounting and sustainability. That is a shame, as several built-in features (and some easy to build in) could offer a way to turn the economy around. It’s not rocket science and it would be a big leap forward!
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Citizen Science being tried in Swedish Municipality

As part of the EU project Ground Truth, to set up citizen observatories, the municipality where the eco-village I am engaged in is the site for  a campaign to explore how citizen involvement can improve understanding and decision making around the water cycle.

Citizen science is on the increase. Using their own observations and mobile devices, citizens can provide a new data stream of local information about their environment, complementing existing systems and data sources.

 Ground Truth 2.0 is a 3-year EC funded project that is setting up and validating six citizen observatories in real conditions, in four European and two African demonstration cases. The project is demonstrating that such observatories are technologically feasible, can be implemented sustainably and that they have many societal and economic benefits. The ultimate objective is the global market uptake of the concept and the enabling technologies.

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Ground truth

The Swedish Municipal Water Blitz

Planetary health: the new science

Read the latest from The Lancet Planetary Health journal:
Planetary Health: a new discipline

A beneficial climate change hypothesis

Reblogged from Dr Curry’s Climate etc. Excellent analysis of climate change and our own change from hunter gathering to agriculture.

Climate Etc.

by Rud Istvan

A novel hypothesis on the role of CO2 in the technological transition from hunter/gatherers to sedentary agriculture.

View original post 2,020 more words

Coming soon! Training in using the Commons Finance Canvas

Click on the image for registration page

The Commons finance Canvas is a tool to help intentional communities like eco-villages or CSA food projects to plan their finances. The canvas helps groups produce a prospectus and business plan. This free online training is coming soon so do sign up if you’d like to know the moment it is released!

Putting sustainability into financial reporting

We can envisage a balance sheet from which it is possible to glean the current state of the firm’s investment in circularity. A worked example is given below. Note that by  circular infrastructure we mean infrastructure that:

  • runs (or can run) on renewable energy
  • uses recycled materials and recycles materials
THE TRANSITIONAL COMPANY
PERIOD ENDED 31/12/2016
CURRENT ASSETS CURRENT LIABILITIES
Cash 200 000 € Accounts payable 0 €
Accounts receivable 0 € Accrued Expenses 0 €
Inventory 0 € Taxes owed 0 €
TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS 200 000 € Long term debt 0 €
TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS 0 €
PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT
*Circular Infrastructure 100 000 € LONG TERM DEBT
*Non-circular Infrastructure 50 000 € *Loans for Circular investment 100 000 €
Less depreciation -4 000 € *Loans for other infrastructure investment 30 000 €
NET FIXED ASSETS 146 000 € Other loans
TOTAL LIABILITIES 130 000 €
OTHER ASSETS STOCKHOLDERS EQUITY
Licence 0 € Paid in Capital 0 €
Goodwill 0 € Retained Earnings 0 €
TOTAL OTHER ASSETS 0 € TOTAL NET WORTH 0 €
TOTAL ASSETS 346 000 € TOTAL LIABILITIES AND NET WORTH
*Percentage circular infrastructure value 67% *Percentage investment loans for circular infrastructure 77%

As the example above shows, the infrastructure is 67% circular. In terms of loans the 77% invested in circularity gives a degree of transparency for investors. For example, if investors think that regulations will become stricter in future, then the investment is sound.

Extended Profit and Loss Statement

An extended profit and loss statement can also be created as shown below.

From this you can derive measures like % of sales of circular products, cost of circular technology, circular vs non-circular expenses and trends over time. This again creates transparency for the capability of the firm to operate in an environmental way.

INCOME STATEMENT
PERIOD ENDED 31/12/2016
CURRENT
OPERATING INCOME
*Circular product sales 50 000 €
*Non-circular sales 100 000 €
Net sales 150 000 €
*Renewable energy 2 000 €
*Non-renewable energy 2 000 €
*Non-circular materials purchase 2 500 €
*Circular materials purchase 2 500 €
Other costs of good sold 100 €
GROSS INCOME 140 900 €
OPERATING EXPENSES
*Renewable energy 2 000 €
*Non-renewable energy 4 000 €
*Non-circular materials purchase 3 000 €
*Circular materials purchase 10 000 €
*Repairs and maintenance on linear infrastructure 20 000 €
*Repairs and maintenance on circular infrastructure 30 000 €
*Costs for waste elimination, non-recycled 2 000 €
Other expenses
TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES 71 000 €
Other income 0 €
Other expenses 0 €
NET INCOME BEFORE TAXES 69 900 €
TAXES 25 000 €
NET INCOME 44 900 €
Circular products 50/150    75%

Renewable energy 2/6        50%

Circular materials 10/13     77%

Circularity lost to waste    15%

Circular infrastructure

costs 30/50                           60%

The Baltic: a dying sea on the doorstep of industrial giants

At a Stockholm seminar on the 18th January held by the Baltic Works Commission,  scientists, government officials and NGOs came together to discuss the dying briny depths on their doorstep: the Baltic Sea. The general consensus is one of emergency where technology provides an as yet unproven ray of hope. This is only if the countries surrounding the Baltic are ready for bold investments, policy changes  and some bold pilot studies. If nothing is done, the nutrients contained in the dead sea floor could flow into the water body and – worst case – cause the whole sea to turn in to a dead algal soup. Read More…

Engaging the Climate Tragedy

Reblogged from strategist Jem Bendell. Sobering.

Professor Jem Bendell

When discussing the sorry state of efforts to address climate change with professionals working on this topic, across sectors, I often hear a reluctance to question whether it is too late to avert catastrophic climate change, or what such a view might mean for the focus of our work. Various objections to this view are raised and prevent open discussion or an evolution of work. Therefore, I decided to deliver a speech at a leading climate business and finance event in Australia, at Griffith University, to seek feedback on my argument that we must now shift focus.

In my keynote, Nov 29th, I’m outlining the following:

  1. There has been some progress on environmental issues in past decades, from reducing pollution, to habitat preservation, to waste management.
  2. Much valiant effort has been made to reduce carbon emissions over the last twenty years.
  3. There have been many steps forward on…

View original post 1,408 more words

The “Wind and Solar Will Save Us” Delusion

The “Wind and Solar Will Save Us” story is based on a long list of misunderstandings and apples to oranges comparisons. Somehow, people seem to believe that our economy of 7.5 billion p…

Source: The “Wind and Solar Will Save Us” Delusion