Unburnable Fossil Fuels Necessitate Zero-Carbon Goals

stopping fossil fuel depletion

In their article in the January 2015 of Nature magazine, “The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2°C,” Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins confirm our global carbon budget. They quantify unburnable fossil fuels both globally and regionally. The writing is on the wall. To prepare for an inevitable low-carbon future, smart companies will integrate zero-carbon goals into their business models.
The authors estimate that there are 11,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2) trapped in known fossil-fuel resources in the world. By 2050, we can only add about another 1,100 Gt CO2 to the atmosphere before we exceed a 2ºC rise in the average global temperature above pre-industrial levels. That is the upper limit beyond which climate scientists and policy makers unanimously agree that there is at least a 50% chance of catastrophic and irreversible global climate destabilization. That means that 90% of the CO2 that is trapped in worldwide fossil resources must stay in the ground as stranded assets. Read more

Sustainability – Announcing the Future-Fit Business Benchmark

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

Ta-dah! As promised in my last blog, Public Draft 1.0 of the Future-Fit Business Benchmark is now available for use and feedback. This free, open-source resource defines science-based, aspirational, sustainability goals for a company that desires to be fit for the future on a scarcer, more crowded, and hotter planet. We invite your feedback on the goals and your ideas on appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs) by which to assess progress toward each goal.
To recap, here is the what, why, who, how, and when of the Future-Fit Business Benchmark. Read more

Future-Fit Business Benchmark… It’s Time

Climate destabilization

It’s time for a Future-Fit Business Benchmark. The reality of planetary boundaries presents one of the most daunting challenges of the twenty-first century. We are damaging the carrying capacity of the planet faster than it can repair itself. We are exceeding planetary boundaries. We are denying our nested interdependencies. For the first time in human history, the future of a healthy resilient human society is in question. This is not sustainable, neither for society nor for business.
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Frankly, a Low-Carbon Economy Creates Jobs and Growth

low carbon economy

Harper was refreshingly frank recently. As reported in the Globe and Mail, he used a June 9 joint news conference with visiting Australian Prime Minister Abbot to declare, “No matter what they say, no country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country. We are just a little more frank about that.

… It’s not that we don’t seek to deal with climate change, but we seek to deal with it in a way that will protect and enhance our ability to create jobs and growth, not destroy jobs and growth. Frankly, every single country in the world feels the same way.” Read more

7 Ways to Get Credible and Stay Credible

credibility in sustainability sector

In The Sustainability Champion’s Guidebook, I explain seven leadership practices used by successful change agents. They are all important, but the one that tops them all is “Get Credible; Stay Credible.” Leadership gurus Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner agree. After writing their landmark book, The Leadership Challenge, they wrote Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, and Why People Demand It.

Without credibility, leaders are not trustworthy. Based on my years of leadership experience and hundreds of books and articles by sustainability leaders, here are 7 ways to become, and stay, a credible sustainable champion. Read more

7 Bold Strokes to Avoid Climate Destabilization

united nations climate change summit

What would we expect governments to commit to at the 21st United Nations climate summit in Paris in December 2015 if they are serious about avoiding climate destabilization? In this blog post, we’ll discuss 7 bold strokes they could and should consider.

Let’s suppose they take April’s last-chance-before-it’s-too-late IPCC report seriously. Let’s suppose they act on the Pentagon’s warning that climate change is a bigger threat to national security than terrorism. Read more

5 Fixes for Dangerous Wealth Inequality

U.S. wealth gap

My last blog was about fixing risky and unsustainable income inequality. Its twin problem is a dangerous wealth chasm between the haves and have-nots. Wealth inequality is related to, but different from, income inequality. Income is what we earn every year; wealth is how much our estate would be worth if we were to die tonight. It’s our net worth, calculated by subtracting our liabilities and debts from our assets. Income inequity is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) issue; the wealth chasm is closely tied to CSR because the super-wealthy are corporate executives.

The ultra-rich are staggeringly wealthy. A recent Oxfam report revealed that the richest 85 people in the world are as wealthy as the poorest half of the world—that is, their $1.8 trillion is equal to the net worth of 3.5 billion people. Further, the wealthiest 1% own $110 trillion, or 65 times as much as the poorest half of the world. Read more

4 Fixes for Risky Income Inequality

inequality

A companion debate to how much employees should be paid (see my last blog) is what the ratio of CEO pay to average worker pay should be. The debate usually centers on three questions: what is the ratio now, what should it be, and what steps can be taken to get us closer to what it should be? There may also be a fourth question: how large can the ratio become before the inequity damages economic growth and social cohesion? In this blog, I’ll discuss 4 fixes for this risky income inequality.
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Pay Employees at Least a Fair Living Wage

fair wage

Here is another breakthrough corporate CSR idea; How about paying employees at least a fair living wage? My last blog suggested A Wild and Crazy Corporate CSR Idea: Pay Your Taxes.

At the risk of being overly innovative by simply stating the obvious, I humbly suggest a second breakthrough corporate social responsibility (CSR) program: pay all employees at least a Living Wage. Otherwise, corporations may be setting themselves up for public embarrassment, like the report that went viral last October about how McDonald’s US pays its workers below-poverty-line wages while its “McResource” employee help line encourages them to use food stamps and government assistance to make ends meet. That is, McDonald’s wants the government (a.k.a. tax-paying citizens) to top up their paltry workers’ wages. Awkward. McDonald’s has since discontinued its McResource.

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A Wild and Crazy Corporate CSR Idea: Pay Your Taxes

tax time

Ahhhh, April. Finally spring is arriving – the time when a young man’s fancy turns to love … and the rest of us think about taxes. Damn. Here’s a wild and crazy corporate CSR idea, pay your taxes!

No one enjoys paying taxes. You don’t. I don’t. Companies don’t either. But it’s our civic duty. Without tax revenues, governments cannot provide us with the health, education, safety, security, and infrastructure services that are vital to our well-being in a flourishing society. Taxes are a necessary and a good thing. Corporate taxes are vital.

However, over the past 50 years, the share of tax revenue coming to the federal government from business has collapsed. According to the U.S. Tax Policy Center, corporate taxes represented 32% of U.S. federal government revenues in 1953; 23% in 1966; 12% in 1998; and 9% in 2010. There seems to be trend.

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