AL GORE: ‘We're in the early stages of a sustainability revolution'.

12. August 2019 | Social, Politics | via Wired.co.uk

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People nowadays are familiar with the cost efficiency gains caused by the use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. Renewables enjoyed record levels of installations in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency. (Credit: Steppinstars / Pixabay)

 

According to an article on Wired.co.uk there is a growing perception in the markets of developed nations that our current economic model is no longer fit for purpose. For a number of reasons related to economic performance, social and political divisions have grown wider than ever and large swathes of the population feel excluded from mainstream society. Meanwhile, the global climate crisis is worsening faster than solutions are being deployed, and environmental damage continues. Sixteen of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001. Extreme weather events are now discussed as “the new normal”, though they may be but a preview of what scientists tell us is worse to come.

It does not have to be this way. In fact, as Generation Investment Management’s (GIM) recent – and first annual – “Sustainability Trends Report” shows, the world is at the beginning of a seismic shift. More firms are employing a sustainable approach to business, as it can benefit the planet and society as much as their bottom line. Based on our analysis, there are clear indicators we are in the early stages of a global “Sustainability Revolution” that has the magnitude of the Industrial Revolution and the speed of the Digital Revolution. Empowered by new digital tools, including the internet of things and machine learning, this Sustainability Revolution is giving many businesses the ability to manipulate electrons, atoms and molecules with the same precision used by computer and networking firms to manipulate bits of information.

In the report, we identify three trends: first, companies are embracing technology in order to produce the same – or better – end products and services more sustainably. People are familiar with the cost efficiency gains caused by the use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. Renewables enjoyed record levels of installations in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency.

Other industries have made large strides. Electric vehicles are greener than those running on gas; now with longer ranges, they are just as practical. There is similar progress in the food industry. Companies are producing high-quality plant-based “milk” products – cutting out cows results in lower emissions.

The second takeaway shows that firms are encouraging consumers to use products in a more sustainable way. Many – especially in the Millennial generation – have little interest in owning assets outright, preferring to rent them for short intervals, or share them with others. A decade ago, fewer than half a million people were members of car-sharing schemes. Now there are six milion. Bike-sharing schemes are also climbing. The sharing economy does not just mean that resources get used more efficiently: it has improved access to products and services for people who in the past have found them too expensive to use at all.

 

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