Monday, 27 January 2014


It is hard to ignore the severe weather events in both the US and UK right now. There have been successions of storms piling across the Atlantic, bringing extensive flooding and loss of life. The coastlines of Wales and the West have been worst affected, with the beach becoming almost entirely deposited on the seafront promenade at Aberystwyth. In Canada, a region used to difficult weather, the conditions are described as a ‘polar vortex’.

This reminds us of our deep connection with the environment, a chord we cannot cut. Many of those interviewed on daily TV news reports freely make the connection between the increased frequency of extreme weather events and global warming. As a long-time resident of a village (now an island) in the Somerset Levels remarked, ‘flooding is more common, reaches a higher level and lasts for longer’. That pretty much sums it up.

Perhaps now, as in so many things, commitment to sustainability becomes a matter of belief. There are those who will never have enough evidence to accept that the climate is changing, or that if it is, human agency has any significant role in the change. Others readily see the signs everywhere and are perhaps over-zealous!

So perhaps the argument should move on to different ground? Perhaps it is a sense of inter-connectivity in economic, social and environmental terms that we should be focusing on. We should say, ‘be sustainable because sustainability is mutually beneficial’ rather than rely on the climate change threat. There is a well-founded impact on economic and social cases. I have personally carried out a good deal of international research on this, with Edinburgh Business School and King’s College London, which demonstrates that good sustainability in corporate practices connects to long-term financial performance and improving return on assets.

Perhaps it is easier to talk about the responsibilities we have to each other as part of being reasonable citizens. The strength and resilience of our communities depends on our commitment to each other and indeed, on our faith that communities are worthwhile. Being aware of what we measure as signs of success needs careful examination. That also forms part of the work I am currently engaged in for the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

We owe it to each other to examine the facts and the options more closely. Departing from the climate change debate, there is still much to chew over and many other reasons to accept the sustainability challenge. green24 is here to help.

David Jackman

No comments:

Post a Comment