Today’s blog starts with the big picture, some facts and figures about where we are today, later articles will focus in on specific actions we can all take to create sustainable plans, set sustainable targets and measure the effectiveness of our sustainable actions. Later, will drop down into the nitty – gritty, give insight and advice on how to drive your business in a sustainable way. We will look at how to ensure you are a part of a sustainable supply chain, highlight ways to reduce waste, look at energy consumption, (ensuring you have sustainable energy suppliers or your own alternatives), have a sustainable work force, and most importantly of all ensure your business is more profitable and is still here in 20 years time.
Building a sustainable business is not something that can be done overnight, it is a philosophy, a step change and a fundamental shift in most business’s beliefs. It is something that must be constantly strived for in every facet of your business. This article looks specifically at two important questions: what is business sustainability? And why do businesses need to become sustainable?
Business sustainability involves creating value for all stakeholders. This includes employees, shareholders, supply chains, society and the planet. Sustainability is not about hugging trees and wearing sandals, it is about taking steps to repay our debts and strive towards ambitions goals to minimise and then reverse the negative impact the last 3 generations have had on the environment. The big picture is, that if the worlds population, as it stands today, were to live like we do in the UK, we would probably need not one planet, but three earths to sustain this global lifestyle. We have one planet, there is no Planet B!
The numbers don’t lie, so far this year, globally we have lost 1.7m hectares of forest, 2.3m hectares to soil erosion and nearly 4m hectares to desertification (where once fertile land becomes arid and infertile)1. To put this into context Wales covers approximately 2m hectares. Our energy consumption lies at around 500m MWh of power per day, 85% of which comes from non-renewable sources, and yet 3 trillion MWh of solar power hit the earth every day1. We are pumping around 100m barrels of oil a day, which will run out in around 43 years1. These levels are not sustainable.
Suffice it to say, change is not optional, it is a necessity, we need to act, and we need to act now. We need to use renewable energy sources, we need to re-use, we need to recycle, we need to drive towards a circular global economy, where human inequalities are negated, and our planet is given a chance to heal itself. The big picture may look a bit scary, but if we break it down into actions we can take, we can all do our bit, and we can all ensure we have a bright future.
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1 Worldometer, 2020. (www.worldometers.info)