Mainstreaming Sustainability

Mainstreaming Sustainability

December 21, 2014 at 03:12pm

There are currently three mega-trends prevalent in today’s global business market that are fuelling more and more debate about energy efficiency and climate change, provocatively challenging our attitudes in business. In particular, the Middle East and Africa region is experiencing increased discussion around how it is to fuel dynamic growth and infrastructure development in a more sustainable way.

The first mega-trend is the massive increase in energy demand. With a rapidly increasing population, the world is experiencing unprecedented demands on its resources. This inevitably leads to an increase in carbon emissions and with tighter and tighter carbon reduction policies being enforced by governments, climate change is on everyone’s agenda.

The second mega-trend is the industrial-internet. Computing power is growing exponentially, and with it, so does our ability to become more productive and efficient. Technology is arguably now at a place of excess, in that we have capacity that we are not using to its full potential – the question of how we get more out of what we already have is becoming louder.

And the third mega-trend is the rebirth of entrepreneurialism. In a world of abundant technology and information there is more innovation than ever before, and importantly this includes larger organisations. Our ability then to overcome challenges has never been greater as we enjoy seemingly limitless options and creativity.

These three mega-trends then, set the scene for a fertile dialogue around how we can mainstream sustainability to overcome the challenges that climate change and energy efficiency bring. They also highlight a need to think differently in business by placing a larger bias on long term benefits and global responsibility for investors, who traditionally look for quick returns, ruling out many green initiatives.

Education, however, is the most pressing need that arises from this conversation. In order to truly mainstream sustainability we need to create sustainable residents who will drive sustainable living. Often communication on climate change has been rooted in an engineering or scientific context and, as a consequence, has missed connecting with the mass market. It is clear that communication on a human level is needed and communication that addresses the common disconnect experienced in this area between cause and effect.

Enabling the mass market to make simple and small changes will have a huge effect on increasing energy efficiency and reducing the risks of climate change.

We recently brought together leading thinkers in sustainability in the Dubai region to consider the challenges brought to modern businesses by the pressures of climate change. The resulting conversation, summarised in the video below, touched on the timely nature of the topic as wells as practical advice on how to overcome hurdles in this field, ultimately challenging us to see climate change as a challenge as opposed to a crisis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcjraFbmW5o

This story is brought to you from Illuminated Minds.

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