Last month saw the publication of Doughnut Economics- a model for keeping within planetary boundaries AND meeting social needs. Keeping within boundaries requires practices to go from extractive to regenerative. We share links on doughnut economics, reflect that it is 150 years since the publication of Capital volume 1 by Karl Marx, and offer our observation that signals we are detecting show that peace is about to make a come-back, going hand in hand with regenerative economic approaches. Popping up in different places, the awareness seems to be growing of the good sense in designing economic policies that incentivize taking care of Earth and putting peace first. Indeed, Doughnut economics, by insisting economics must remove suffering, and other signals on the importance of restoring land to support livelihoods not industrial practices all point towards peace economics.
Most planning rests on the assumption that tomorrow will be like yesterday. We are seeing signs that the very basis for our economy may change rapidly. Signals urges strategists to pay attention to the interface between land functioning – ongoing changes, the nature of the firm, and where money is being invested. Careful consideration of these factors will help your firm navigate the future.
As President Elect Donald Trump recruits staff, the prospects of an economy running clean seem further away than ever. There are some rays of hope, however.
Newsletter OCTOBER 2016 Vol. 4 Issue 2
Sweden special: dressed up for the 2030 celebrations but no carriage to take her there
Scrabbling to take the lead in defossilization, Sweden released ambitious plans to be fossil neutral 2030.Flagship Ericsson sheds employees and factories and announces sharp profit shortfalls. As Ericsson’s shares tumble Signals advises corporate strategists to study Sweden. Can high-tech companies really be located in countries like Sweden that place the social contract high on the agenda? Or is it the other way round – can policy strategists craft alternatives that make the country a good place for Hi-tech corporations whilst maintaining the social contract? And defossilizing at the same time?
If Sweden cannot de fossilise, have a liberal economy and keep the social contract, who can?
Having removed fossil fuel dependency from electricity generation, Sweden was convinced that all that was left was transport and that many alternative ways of transporting their goods could be found within the timeframe. That was until researchers reminded them of the almost 100% dependency of food provision on diesel. Having created one of the most urbanised countries in Europe (85%) Swedes are struggling to envision a way forward to, in the cold climate with mostly poor soils, provide food security without industrial agriculture and a highly centralised and transport-dependent food logistics network.
Sweden’s social direction has stranded
The Nobel Prize in Economics was , some say, created as a counter-weight to the pragmatic social democratic approach of honouring the social contract whatever the situation. Economists must be gloating that the social democratic model is failing and not finding a replacement.
(Apart from the beggars filling the streets, the population of non-registered citizens soaring and handicapped people dying after their care and assistance is withdrawn Signals heard that a university lecturer, who left her work due to illness, is now begging regularly to make ends meet.)
House speculation as economic engine has left many behind
Countries like Sweden, that have enjoyed home ownership as a money-creator for their banks and as a source of retirement income for themselves, are dangerously close to the bubble bursting. For policy makers we advise listening to debt forgiveness as serious economists like Steve Keen propose serious fiscal reform.
Current policy, of keeping interest rates low and allowing deductions for interest payment, is fuelling still further housing price rises. As the thousands of Ericsson employees hit unemployment we can expect it will produce an oversupply of mortgaged houses, causing a price dip if not a burst bubble.
Be aware of the alternatives
Alternatives to houses as piggy-banks are sprouting up. From the tiny house movement to the Permanent Real Estate Cooperative. Signals encourages social entrepreneurs and social enterprises to consider this route.
THERE IS NO B PLAN
Most corporate strategists who read Signals will readily admit that there is no B plan if fossil fuel is taken out of the equation. There is no strategy that can cope. The onus is on government policy to provide a transition path for businesses that risk having to ditch much of their equipment, supply chains and processes. Lobbying is what is needed along with serious dialogue.
Fossil vulnerability plan and a circular opportunity plan – soonest
For your organisation to get on top of this volatile situation, analysis of fossil vulnerability should be carried out. When you have done that, a full analysis of the potential of finding resources from the circular economy to run your operations is a priority.
TSSEF simulated the ecological alternative
The Swedish Sustainable Economy held a simulation to address just that question earlier last year. The results speak for themselves: only by applying a framework of large enough fees and dividends can the market be nudged to change.
Finally, when war seem on the cards for all, why not Invest in Peace?
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Signals: Whilst countries are crafting fossil fuel descent trajectories, the special role that energy plays in the economy means that you cannot just unplug the economy from its fossil fuel life support, and hope. Energy might not even comply with the laws of supply and demand.
SIGNALS ARE COMING IN THAT PERMANENT CHANGE IN THE CLIMATE SYSTEM IS UNDERWAY. THIS IS PRESENTING THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE OF THE CENTURY. SOME ARE CALLING ON CORPORATIONS TO TAKE THE LEAD, OTHERS ARE LOOKING TO FIND WAYS TO ADAPT AND ACCEPT. MEDIA IS COMING UNDER FIRE FOR NOT REPORTING ACCURATELY.
Signals: The climate system has changed permanently, energy supply is going to be tougher than many have imagined; both will impact food security. As argued by the Water and Food Award, that will undermine markets and all businesses will be affected. Corporations can realign their missions to include water and food security. Indeed, as some have commented, it may only be corporations that have the wherewithal to lead the change although as the finalists in this year’s Water and Food Award demonstrate, it is grass roots initiatives just now that are leading the way.
Comment. This food and water special highlights the Water and Food Award in London the 18th June. See the links below to get further insight into the important issues they are addressing, and the opportunities for far –sighted corporations to get involved. Further down we provide links to comments on the various strategies we are seeing emerging as well as supporting links to the challenges to food security.
The recent IPCC report
The IPCC analysis of food security impact
All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change, including food access, utilization, and
price stability (high confidence).
Comments on the significance of the report
The guardian’s take on the IPCC report and consequences for food security
A slight change in climate could make our food “hollow of nutrients”
A Fast Company article on how corporations can change the world
Oxfam calls for large corporations to make the stand
Blog article explains how corporations can rise up the food and water ladder
A world with everyone fed turning CSR strategy to food security: The Humanitarian Water and Food Award is challenging corporations to put food security at the heart of their CSR strategy. They will present five finalists and choose a winner at their prestigious Event in central London on the 18th June. http://www.wafaward.org/#!london-2014/ct1m
Going from business as usual to business as putting food on the table is the strategy for the future, argues the Water and Food Award.
This recording of a recent short webinar explains the main outlines. http://csrwebinars.avbp.net/?p=204
Media is called out on TV for biased climate reporting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjuGCJJUGsg with John Oliver
Blogger Dave Pollard explains how changing climate could mean the end of big government
Antarctic changes studied (new article in Science)
Thwaites Glacier studies show change to be permanent
READ MORE ABOUT THE AWARD HERE
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SEEING MOST BOARDS AND MANAGEMENT TEAMS ARE CONVINCED THAT COUNTER -SUSTAINABILITY AS A STRATEGY IS NOT AN OPTION, SIGNALS IS OBSERVING THAT THE NEXT CHALLENGE, DOING THE RIGHT THING AT THE RIGHT TIME TO THRIVE IN A DOWNWARD ENERGY TRAJECTORY, IS DEMANDING LEADERS FIND THE CONVICTION, COURAGE AND STAYING POWER TO CRAFT A STRATEGY TO TAKE THEIR ORGANISATIONS THROUGH THESE STORMY WATERS.
Signals: As signals roll in that being environmental is leading to healthy profits, the downsides of the industrial growth legacy( including climate change, inequalities and food provision shortfalls) are catching us up. Whilst countries are crafting fossil fuel descent trajectories, the special role that energy plays in the economy means that you cannot just unplug the economy from its fossil fuel life support, and hope. Energy might not even comply with the laws of supply and demand.
SIGNALS OF CHANGE
Catching social and environmental trends early
Newsletter February 2014 Vol. 2 Issue 1
About this newsletter:
We monitor the news flow from a wide variety of sources from the last 30 – 60 days for developments that could inform your organization’s social and environmental strategy which in turn could affect your overall business strategy.
The idea of this newsletter is to alert you to trends that, in your leadership role, you may need to be aware off. Once alerted, if salient, you will start to pick up on them and apply your understanding.
Signals of Change Newsletter is produced in cooperation between the Institute of Swedish Safety and Security and Stephen Hinton Consulting with support from the Water and Food Award.
Together with our partners we offer dialogues, training, webinars and consulting to help organizations rise to the social challenges of our times.
THE LAST FEW MONTHS HAVE SHOWN INCREASING SIGNALS THAT BUSINESS LEADERS NEED TO ACCEPT THAT WE ARE AT THE END OF THE INDUSTRIAL AGE. AT THE SAME TIME, THE PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT THAT ADAPTATION MIGHT MEAN IS BEING OFFERED FROM SOME SURPRISING PLACES AND IN SURPRISING WAYS. SIGNALS OF CHANGE INVITES YOU TO SHARE OUR PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT WE HAVE HEARD.