“The majority of companies today are seeking to reduce their environmental impacts, increase resource efficiency and mitigate risks from climate change. However, decisions to take action are being made without any real knowledge of what is actually sustainable in a finite global system.”

Mark Elroy and others have been advocating science and context based targets for more than a decade. More recently Kate Raworth, an economist, has been popularizing the concept of planetary boundaries.

The release of this white paper gives companies a framework that integrates these concepts into more manageable concepts for decision-making. From the authors, “the aim of the paper is to launch an ongoing discussion around using the PB framework in the context of corporate sustainability by:

  • Introducing the value of the PB framework along with its challenges and limitations
  • Exploring how the PBs could be applied in a corporate context
  • Proposing innovative approaches based on the PB concept
  • Identifying the next steps to integrate the business community into the PB framework development

As we’ve written in numerous articles, measuring impacts is the best indicator of business effectiveness and performance. Getting your company from your current state to the next one is often a greater challenge than creating the strategies that you want to implement. Many internal organizations are involved and the change is viewed as a threat. People who have never had occasion to work together must now find ways to operate seamlessly as a team. In unfamiliar territory, most approach new ideas with trepidation, even fear. To confound matters even more, sustainability has been discussed in business circles for decades with every evolving reference points.

While moving from downscaling (doing less bad) to upscaling (regenerative practices that restore and rebuild) can be daunting, it can be done. When the business community factors in global resourcing while operating at local and larger geographic scale, they will be working within planetary boundaries. To get there organizations may need to re-skill people, operate using different models and will need to collect and use data in entirely different ways.

“The science is clear: if the planet is destabilised, there is a significant probability that our complex society will unravel. The implications for business are large if efforts to avoid this are not put in place…”

We help business achieve big, hairy, audacious goals. If you need help in achieving your sustainability goals and measuring your impacts, get in touch today.

Link to White Paper: https://www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/resources/publication-pdfs/linking-planetary-boundaries.pdf