Understanding that as a species humans cannot go on as we were, 140 experts, academics and volunteers across the world are coming together to engage with policy agenda of the G20, COP26, EU and UK Government. The group will provide post-COVID19 stimulus policies that are socially fair; stimulate economic growth; and accelerate our transformation to a sustainable planet.
Worryingly, the outlook as we emerge from the restrictions is bleak. If we are to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 and have any hope of limiting the rise in global average temperatures to a level that will not cause a societal catastrophe, we have to achieve 15% of reduction in carbon emissions *every year*.
The EU from its perspective, and likewise many of its member countries with their own efforts, are backing the idea of the circular economy. The urgency of a looming materials shortage is getting a lot of policy makers into thinking materials should circulate rather than be used up. More bang for fewer materials is the idea. The strategy is to use all available means to educate, goad, tax, regulate and otherwise “nudge” companies into going circular. At the center of this is the idea of a circular business model.
A circular economy is vastly different from a linear economy. When it comes to the resources that drive the economy, a linear economy is extractive whereas the circular economy is regenerative of its material source. The current way we run our economy is using resources up at an ever-expanding rate. Before resource shortages overturn the economy we need to transition to the circular use of materials. But how do we get to the circular model? This article takes a high-level systems analysis approach to explore possible pathways, and hones in on the role of local authorities.
Corona has exposed many weaknesses, including our lack of health care system capability. It has also opened up some possibilities for permanent changes for example as people start to appreciate the reduction in noise, how the air is better, etc.
Covid has shown us that we are all in this together. It is as a whole we can progress, to quote the Sustanable Development Goals , no one left behind. The current system is fundamentally flawed at a basic level because its very construction leaves people behind and obfuscates how people – including the organisations we have created -really are in this all together.
These video lessons take you through a systemic approach to sustainability using as an example the challenge of nitrogen cycle destabilisation and the systems analysis tool KUMU. You should be able to carry out your own analyses after this.
The recent article on Regenerative Economics got a lot of reads (for this blog at least). It raised a lot of interesting questions, some of which I will address below. First, I need to re-iterate a few things. The first is the big take-away I was aiming for:
for the capability of a nation to provide basic needs to everyone, a measure of the state of real capital and the performance of the aggregate of the organisations employing that capital are essential for informing policy.
not all economy can come under this measurement. Definitely not the art market.
the essence of the regenerative economy is to put in place measures, track and respond to the state of the Real Capital that is employed to provide the security of the basics.
the focus must always be on stewarding and regenerating the capital needed to provide basic services.
The Baltic-one of the most polluted waters on Earth is in fact a treasure trove of easy-to -retrieve minerals, metals and composting material. If you remove the sediment that contains the legacy of hundreds of years of latrine and chemical farming you restore the waters and get pristine raw materials.
The restauration of the Baltic would be a gigantic win for the circular economy. It might require a shift. Either we pay little for our food and sewage and a lot (via taxes) for restoration or we pay more for food and sewage and much less to restore our nature.
Let’s take a look back to the year where circular economy took centre stage; involving our consulting service and seeing the launch of the Academy of Investors in Peace and their online circular economy courses.
We are in a time of transition. The world no longer seems to present vast frontiers of new forests to fell, mineral wealth under our feet to extract, or of new soils to plough. Instead the Earth has become more like a garden which we realise we need to steward carefully to keep it productive.
We also see another transition, from societies where everyone more or less had the basics to massive inequalities where for instance in the UK, one in 200 is homeless.
At least from a European perspective, where the state is seen as the protector of people and resources, and firms are partners in providing what people need, we can see this a massive market failure.