Being at the Vanguard of Change
With warnings of a constantly differing, but always serious, nature being issued about environmental change in the media on a daily basis it is difficult to know how to approach the environment for some businesses.
Whatever the outcome of environmental change –from a mild heat rise to severe drought across Europe to Siberian conditions in the U.K. within 20 years – it seems clear that if we are to cope with change, and if we are to lessen the impact of that change serious innovation technologically, as well as serious changes to our lifestyles will be needed
The Need for Creative IngenuityWe don’t know just how fast the environment will change and whether we can stop it. For this reason we can only assume that a reduction in carbon emissions will help to dampen the blow of change, whilst we must in any case seek new ways to generate power as resources become scarce.
Whilst reducing our use of energy by reducing consumption makes sense we cannot ignore the fact that in a fast paced economy (such as we have in the U.K, but also now in India, China and much of the rest of the developing world beside the rest of Europe and America) energy will be needed.
For this reason our main hope lays in a mixture of cutting back energy requirements where possible (and this in many ways can only lead to a more relaxed lifestyle) whilst also creating the means to carry on our lifestyle where desired through the deployment of new technology.
Each business has a responsibility to achieve this as business is the main driver of an economic system that demands ever more consumption. Many commentators have described the point we are at now as similar to the point just ahead of World War Two, with the next few years demanding a concerted and desperate effort to address what will be real and threatening challenges.
The fact is that climate change is real and will remain unpredictable for the coming years, possibly veering between extremes all along the way. What is needed in response is a flexible attitude if you want your business to survive: if the worst case scenario’s do come true your business will suffer it is seen to be part of the cause of climate change, rather then part of the solution.
For now the main thing is to look at your practices as see how it is that you might become a market leader in the field of ecologically aware innovation in all of your work practices from how you consume energy to what kind of products you produce. In this way you will be able to contribute as part of a rising tide of businesses developing solutions now that might help us to avert a catastrophe.
The Carbon Trust offer grants and support to significant initiatives that may contribute to a better environment in the future and can advise on the best emerging technology to utilise in the day to day running of your company.
Remember finally that innovation need not be necessarily technical and that it may involve changes to working practices in other ways: Face to face contact, for example, uses less energy in some instances than using a computer or telephone to conduct a meeting. Work buses for ferrying large amounts of employees who are heading to and from work in roughly the same area as well as car sharing schemes could provide a great opportunity to forge ahead with energy saving policy.
Growing food in an area set aside on your grounds can help promote the notion of self sustainability as a means to save on ‘food mileage’ (the distance food travels before it appears ‘on your plate’. In this sense social and work culture innovation is as important reducing carbon emissions, whilst fostering the right attitude as technological change.