Sustainability Gets a Seat at the Table: Why Including Climate Change in the Inaugural Address is a Momentous Event

 

 

Inauguration speeches are a bit of a conundrum, really.  All at once they are meant to set a vision and inspire a nation, yet avoid partisanship, or anything that might be too controversial from the current political agenda.  The sameness of inaugural addresses even inspired a mashup of inaugural addresses from the last 50 years that was broadcast widely online in the days leading up to President Obama’s inauguration last week.

Whether Republican or Democrat the inaugural address follows a comforting formula noting the new beginning, but acknowledging the foundation of tradition; praising the quintessential American values of …

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Hurricane Sandy and the Lexicon of Sustainability

It’s been a tough  week.  I lost 24 hours of it to Sandy. But when my power came back on and I switched on the TV I was able to see just how lucky I had been – dark for only 24 hours and no damage of flooding. The photo is of the New Jersey home of a friend and colleague from BT who was less fortunate.   Luckily no one was hurt.

The range of potential and actual corporate responses we are seeing to the storm is an informative way to distinguish the lexicon of our sustainability landscape.  A little …

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Threading the Needle: How BT Integrates Climate Stabilization with Economic Prosperity

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Bill Baue on behalf of Sustainable Brands about my role at BT and, in turn, the role that BT plays as an industry leader in the realm of environmental sustainability and sustainable business.

Bill was particularly interested in BT’s Climate Stabilization Intensity methodology (CSI) which “has set a precedent by linking greenhouse gas reduction targets to climate stabilization scenarios from the scientific community.”   Most businesses seek to do one or both of reduce their absolute emissions or reduce emissions as a unit of production , otherwise known …

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Water, carbon and climate change – One Big Gotcha?

Water and carbon have some obvious contrasts. Water is a more tangible product that we can see, touch and taste; our problem is a lack of it.   Carbon is a less tangible product that we cannot see, touch or taste, and our problem is that we have too much of it.

It seems counter intuitive that water is the newer issue.

But to some extent these are esoteric differences, nothing more than interesting observations. More importantly to me as a CR practitioner is that carbon is a global issue and water is a local one.

A pound of carbon has basically …

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Why Don’t More Companies have Climate Stabilization Intensity Targets?

I have written a number of times before about how I think measurement can undermine sustainability. I had the opportunity to give a presentation on the topic at the State of Green Business Forum in DC a couple of months back.

In the end I touched only briefly on some of the ways that measurement can mislead. It turned out that the guidelines for the presentation were to present one big idea.  As I say near the beginning, I didn’t want to present one big gripe, so I focused most of my presentation on BT’s Climate Stabilization Intensity target, which …

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Questioning my own motives

I am little the wiser listening to the conflicting analyses of the nuclear power station situation in Japan’s earthquake zone. One expert commentator leaves me feeling chilled to the bone that we were on the edge of a tragedy. Another commentator explains how this is nothing even close to a Chernobyl situation and we should be reassured by the successful layers of backup that have enabled us to stay well clear of a disaster  in the face of an earthquake followed by a tsunami.

Which to believe?

Like climate change, I cannot be an expert in these deeply complex …

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Planetary Catastrophe or Business Imperative? Communicating Climate Change

PR News wrote a piece on communications for climate change this week.  When developing the article, the reporter called me up and asked me my view on why business should become involved in climate change.   The conversation got me thinking more about climate change and how we should communicate the issue and I want to explore this further on my blog.  I am also interested in how we develop our views on climate change  and will perhaps blog about this next week  This is a topic that I’ve addressed on my blog before and you can find the posts here

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When Transparency Becomes Counterproductive

Attending a customer’s sustainability stakeholder meeting; considering stakeholder input for BT’s sustainability report for next year; looking at reports from analysts, at rankings and at indices….I sense an overemphasis on data points in the name of transparency.

Many indices and rankings compete on who has the most data points. Do you have a climate change policy? yes=1, no=0.  What if I have a policy but my policy is that climate change is not man-made, how are you going to score that?

Lets add an additional data point to make our study more comprehensive.  Do you have a policy on whaling? yes=1, …

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How We Determine Our Positions on Climate Change

As I mentioned in a post earlier in June, I have spent some time listening to the discussions between climate change skeptics and proponents.  One of my main takeaways is that rarely is a thorough understanding of the science the basis for people’s views.  Proponents can quote scientists and so can skeptics. I don’t believe that many of us though (myself included) have really done our own analysis of all the research papers and, even if we had, that we would know how to reach our own judgment on the sensitivity analysis, scenarios and balance of risks.

Most of us, on …

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