The “world footprint” is increasing. This is a major challenge for the economy and social cohesion, not just the environment. Big changes in production and consumption are required and behaviour change is essential (for an interesting clip on this topic, see Graham Hill’s TED talk “Less Stuff, More Happiness“).
We have all heard the term “pick the low hanging fruits first” when it comes to sustainability initiatives (eg. take shorter showers, change your light globes). Environmental organisations, governments, businesses and families often rely on this strategy using small and easy actions to pave the way for related and more ambitious environmental behaviours further down the track. This is the desire to create “positive spillovers” that will lead to greater change. Read the rest of this entry »
Equilibrium Managing Director Nick Harford has been invited to participate in the Expert Reference Group for the Victorian State of the Environment Report 2013.
The Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Victoria, Professor Kate Auty, invited Nick to the Group and he will participate in the Consumption & Waste Expert Reference Group providing his specialist skills and advice. The Commissioner has flagged that three Foundation Papers on the themes of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Land and Water and the Environment will be released and provide the basis for the 2013 Report.
A range of other consultation and community engagement is planned to inform the report which is due for release in 2013. See http://www.ces.vic.gov.au/victorias-environment/state-of-environment-victoria-2009-2013
The means to inform purchasers about the ecological or social impacts of processes, products and services is increasing. Emerging communications technologies and social network channels are helping to balance power between people and businesses by enabling interested stakeholders to scrutinise each other and share more information than ever before.
In 2011, the barcode turned fifty-seven years old, an invention that has changed how people shop, transport and organise products. There are now eco-friendly uses of barcodes being developed, such as the ability to scan a product in-store and not only know the price, but also its environmental and carbon footprint. At a recent Australian Food and Grocery event involving diverse stakeholders, discussions revolved around embedding packaging recyclability information into barcodes or QR codes. Read the rest of this entry »
While there is no question that environmental and social issues can impact a company’s reputation, it must be noted that quality and affordability of a product remain the number one attributes the mass market looks for in a company or a brand. Dr Paul Tebo says, “companies like Nike, Walmart (before their move to environmental leadership) and McDonalds are companies who have had significant issues yet continue to be very successful businesses. And ExxonMobil and BP continue to do just fine despite their hiccups”.(1)
Locally, Harvey Norman has weathered the “No Harvey No” campaign. On the other hand, small to medium sized companies (SMEs), which dominate the business community, are the ones that need to better understand their exposure to external scrutiny. Read the rest of this entry »
Incentives for businesses to address their environmental footprints are coming from within business itself, especially from the larger corporations, through the use of the market mechanism. Environmental and social performance requirements are being negotiated into supply chain and service value chain contracts. This effectively regulates the behaviour of upstream suppliers and contractors.
A definition of a sustainable supply chain has been put forward by the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability as “the management of material and information flows as well as cooperation among companies along the supply chain while taking goals from all three dimensions of sustainable development, ie. economic, environmental and social, and stakeholder requirements into account.” Read the rest of this entry »