SB Research Weekly February 22, 2012   

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Scaling Sustainable Consumption & Resource Efficiency

To achieve sustainable consumption at the scale necessary to avert staggering economic consequences, companies, industry sectors and the public and NGO sectors need to come together to change how business is done. This is the central theme of a new report issued by the World Economic Forum, the elite network of global CEOs and other stars and global influentials.

The report, “More with Less: Scaling Sustainable Consumption and Resource Efficiency,” is animated by impatience for progress toward sustainable business. These days, calls for sustainable business practices among the business community are motivated as much by opportunities as threats. But this report places more weight on the threat side of the equation. As a call to action it cites an analysis by Oxford Economics supposing a “peak metals” scenario that puts $2 trillion of output at risk by2030; and another that foresees costs of $1.8 trillion across the major global economies associated with agreed and necessary restraints on carbon.

Consumer Disconnect

A world in which escalating consumption is sustainable, according to the report, is one in which business and economic growth are decoupled from resource intensity and environmental impact. This “decoupling” has been a pillar of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan; the document may indicate that a growing number of companies are starting to think in these terms.


        Solution Providers:

    The Cost and Benefits of Dealing with Conflict Minerals
This month Green Research completed a study on the impact that a piece of the Dodd-Frank law, passed in 2010, is likely to have on companies. The law is intended to improve accountability and transparency in the US financial system. Unusually for a law with this focus, it contains provisions intended to cut off funds currently flowing to armed groups operating in and around the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo via "conflict minerals."
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    Leading Companies Define their Top 10 Sustainability Challenges
“What are your greatest business sustainability challenges looking ahead to the coming year?” This is the question that the Network for Business Sustainability, a Canadian research group, put to its leadership council in its September 2011 meeting. The council members worked to identify global priorities from the Canadian perspective by identifying their own priorities; aggregating and grouping issues into categories; and ranking challenges by importance.
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This work is licensed under a CreativeCommons License. Copyright Sustainable Life Media Inc. 2011