Hethel Innovation - Are you ready to build back greener?

by Claire Fowler

2020 has been an interesting year. Every person, organisation and industry has been impacted by Covid-19, forcing many to reflect on where they are today and what they want to change for the future. Yet, Prince Charles warns Covid-19 will be dwarfed in comparison to climate change and biodiversity collapse; this is nicely illustrated by the ‘waves of crises facing mankind today’ above. In the last five years, there are ever increasing numbers of articles and videos calling for global action to keep global warming below 1.5oC and reverse biodiversity loss before it is too late. Examples include: Sir David Attenborough’s Life on our planet; Thomas Crowther’s TED talk on Global movement to restore our biodiversity; and Greta Thunberg at the Climate Action Summit 2019. Historically, scientists thought that climate change would lead to the collapse of biodiversity, but now, the scientific consensus is that climate change drives changes in nature and changes in nature drives climate change, i.e. they are both inextricably interlinked. 


The waves of different crises (Source: https://9gag.com/gag/abGZdAv)

In 2019, the UK government declared a ‘Climate Emergency;’ whilst the World Economic Forum members ranked nature- and climate-related issues as their top-five long-term risks. Earlier this year, the WWF stated, “there is no future for business as usual, we are reaching irreversible tipping points for nature and climate, and over half of the global GDP, $44 trillion, is potentially threatened by nature loss,” and developed a framework illustrating nature-related risk to businesses and the economy.

Source: WWF (2019)


Currently, the scale of business knowledge and action remains insufficient to help “bend the curve” on global warming and biodiversity loss. Most companies focus on economic value, seeing environmental and social values as luxuries; nice to have. Any companies that take mitigating actions predominately look internally at short-term, cost-saving process efficiencies and technological advances instead of thinking and working on long-term collaborative partnerships to minimise the impact of the full product lifecycle/ supply chain. Therefore, if the UK government wants the country to ‘build back greener’ on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic and reach net-zero emissions by 2050, companies must adopt a sustainable values mindset, transition to a circular business model and learn to collaborate across sectors on actions that mitigate multiple issues; such as in River Ingol Wetland Creation and Cumbernauld Living Landscape.

It will be interesting to see which companies will put sustainability at the core of their business, what new green enterprises develop and how sustainable opportunities will emerge out of this Covid-19 pandemic. As Sir David Attenborough says, “There is still time to heal the planet.” So, are you ready to build back greener?

Having read the article above, take time to reflect and answer these questions:

  1. How will the climate change and biodiversity collapse waves affect your business?
  2. Has your company/ industry assessed their climatic and nature-related risks?
  3. Are your mitigating actions only short-term internally focused or long-term collaboration with your supply chain?
  4. Has your business got sustainable values, business model and actions?

Did you answer no to any of these questions or were you unsure of what the terms meant and hence what the questions where asking? Then this is where I can help. I am currently looking to understand if there is a demand in starting-up a consultancy that helps local companies identify how they will be impacted by climatic and nature-related risks and support their transformation into a sustainable business that collaborates with their supply chains and industry groups to implement SMART action that reduce our impact on the planet. If you are interest in having further discussions about the reflective questions and/or how I could help your company build back greener, then please connect with me through Hethel Innovation or via my LinkedIn.

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