For people leading sustainability, environment or CSR in their organisations, these are turbulent times.
The political and legal context is shifting and uncertain. Assumptions that we will see a gradual ratcheting up of environmental and social standards are in doubt: no sooner had some of these ideas become mainstream than along comes a populist backlash which threatens to sweep that new orthodoxy away. The business case is harder to make.
Consumerism today represents an unprecedented crisis of values, in ethical, social and material terms. Never before have so many resources and so much energy been used to produce so many goods for so many people. And never before have hundreds of millions of people across the world been so ingeniously encouraged to buy, use and then throw away or upgrade – with increasing rapidity – what they have bought. This has resulted in a world of unsustainable material flows, and a world drowning in waste.
What are the consequences of our addiction to convenience? How can we move beyond the belief that ever-increasing consumption is equivalent to progress? Ahead of the publication of Somebody Else’s Problem: Consumerism, Sustainability and Design by Robert Crocker, foreword author – Stuart Walker – considers why it’s time for a shift in priorities.
I was sitting on a beach in a sheltered cove in Greece. I was on one of the lesser visited islands and this place was quite secluded – a lengthy walk from the nearest road. The water was calm, the sky was blue – it was a perfect scene. One could imagine Odysseus dropping anchor in such a cove, and wood nymphs playing among the shadows of the tamarisk trees that came down to the sand.
Greenleaf Publishing and The Textile Institute invite contributions to a forthcoming title, which will address the economic, social, and environmental unsustainability of the fast fashion industry, as well as potential consumer behavior patterns supportive of the emerging eco-fashion industry. The Textile Institute identifies textiles as the second largest industry in the world. The fast fashion segment is notorious for a supply chain that links low wage, often unsafe and environmentally degraded working conditions with cheap chic, fast fashion Western retailers.
In response to the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy that resulted in the deaths of over 1,100 garment workers, this collection will identify how consumer behavior approaches could shift garment demand toward more sustainable, responsible consumption patterns in the future. To this end, we seek contributions from academics, practitioners, policymakers, business leaders, journalists and entrepreneurs.
And I’m not talking about the terrible war in Syria or the recent terrorist attacks. I’m talking about the war against the root causes that are real drivers and amplifiers of the aggression we see nowadays. It is a war against depletion, scarcity, degradation, poverty and exclusion and for health, wellbeing, biodiversity, prosperity and inclusion. It is the most important war we, as influencers in public and private organizations, can fight at this moment, and since we are our own worst enemy in this case, we need to stand united in tackling this complex issue. Continue reading →
A Greenleaf author has presented research from his forthcoming book, the first to analyze the psychosocial impacts of climate disruption, to a group of experts at the UK Committee on Climate Change (UK CCC).
Bob Doppelt, who is Executive Director of The Resource Innovation, spoke on the theories behind Transformational Resilience to the UK CCC team which advises on links between climate change mitigation and adaptation at the session organized by Greenleaf earlier this week. Continue reading →
Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.
On September 18, 2015 the Volkswagen Group received a notice of violation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States for intentionally programming their diesel engines to activate emissions controls only during laboratory testing. According to the New York Times, this “diesel deception” could cause hundreds of deaths in the USA alone, due to the tons of pollutants released into the atmosphere. And an October 28th headline in the New York Times proclaimed that “Volkswagen, hit by Emissions Scandal, Posts its First Loss in Years.” Continue reading →