Once You Know – There is No Way Back!

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Once you know the facts about the precarious situation humanity and life on this planet has arrived to when it comes to Resource scarcity, Social inequality and Climate Change, there is No Way Back! The situation will not disappear by itself, the facts are building quickly and thanks to media and internet, knowledge is increasing rapidly both in the business world and in Public.

Your stance, actions and decisions will be Judged based on the known facts.
Delaying or avoiding to take action when the facts are available is inexcusable!

…and there is really no point delving into why we have ended up where we are. It will not change the current situation. Creating scapegoats will not solve the situation either.

Fact #1 – We are grossly overusing Planetary resources!

www.sorenandersson.comAccording to WWF:s Living Planet Report 2016, the global capacity for renewable resources is 1,7 Global hectares (Gh) per capita. The global average consumption is 2,8 Gh (164%) and almost half of all countries on the planet are today above or well above that average level.
This means that we are overusing the planet at 164% of its capacity while simultaneously doing everything we can to grow/increase this level and also to promote it to countries that have not yet reached this already unsustainable level of consumption…

Comparing the Living Planet report 2016 with the previous from 2014 shows an increased resource depletion, going from a 153% global average in 2014 to 164% in 2016 regardless of promised efforts and while more scientific facts are continuously being published…[!?]

When we know that western lifestyles and level of consumption is vastly exceeding the capacity of what the planet can sustainably support, all efforts that further increase consumption without simultaneously addressing this rapidly increasing depletion is an ethically highly questionable act.

This is of course also relevant when we [successfully] try to minimize inequality by lifting the “less fortunate” to a higher level of lifestyle. If we fail to adress the environmental footprint at the same time, we are actively pushing more and more people into an even more unsustainable lifestyle, creating all kinds of “Lock-In effects” while speeding up depletion even more…

(I’m not in any way advocating that we shouldn’t continue to fight poverty or reduce inequality. It is an absolute necessity if we want a sustainable society. But since the average consumption level already is way above what our planet can sustain, we need to simultaneously reduce consumption, starting in the “high-consuming end”…)

Fact #2 – Climate-Change is happening right now!

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Click picture for most recent graph

This years extremely high temperatures in the arctic have triggered a massive decline in sea-ice. Less ice equals less reflection of solar radiation, which equals increased heating of the planet. Higher temperature in the atmosphere and in the sea entails less ice – a vicious self-inducing circle. This winter shows an unprecedented decline, making the scientific community nervous that we are getting very close to a tipping-point which cannot be reversed – making our future even more daunting…

The facts show that every ton of CO2 being emitted to the atmosphere roughly equals the depletion of 3 m2 of Global Sea ice, which means that a “Christmas-vacation” by plane from Sweden to Thailand for a family of four equals the depletion of approx. 70 m2 of ice. Telling your kids, on the plane, how much you Love them, becomes an act of hypocrisy
…because you know that the flight is actively reducing your children’s chance to live a good future life!

So – How do we react on the facts?

Let’s take a look at some of the most common reactions… and the Best one.

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What goes around, comes back around – Circular Economy…

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Isn’t it rather simple really…? If you add too much or remove to much from a circular system, it will eventually spin out of control or break down.

Nature solved this issue millions of years ago and through evolution it has become an intrinsic web of interconnected circular systems. – Then homo sapiens “happened”, and after a brief period of being part of the cycle, some “smart-ass” found out about the inherent energy of fossilized carbon and almost immediately (…compared with the age of “nature”…) human induced disturbance to the circular systems went exponential…

Of course it is much more complex than this, and yes humanity has evolved and benefitted immensely in the mean time. But the fact remains; for the first time in the history of Earth, one single species have become so influential that it holds the power to destroy conditions for a prosperous life as we know it – to break the cycle!

From Linear to Circular…

After decades of “linear flows” of energy, resources, money etc. with far-reaching and devastating effects. Finally the virtues of circular systems, so ubiquitous in nature around us, are slowly starting to gain foothold also in man-made processes. But it is not an easy transition. Continue reading

Sustainable Development Goals – the most important agenda ever!

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We are in deep shit!” – these words from a student after I had presented an outspoken key-note about Sustainability and Climate Change made me wonder why we constantly are reminded not to be to open or to specific about Climate Change and the enormous challenges we are up for – “people might take offense, or get a bad conscience”

Every other big and urgent issue like migration, the war in Syria, ISIS, Panama-papers, equal sexual rights, shootings etc. is perfectly OK to talk about, but not Climate Change…

Is it that we are a bit ashamed of what we have accomplished? Is it that we are caught with our “pants down” by the generations that will suffer the consequences of our behavior, or is it simply that we really don’t know what to do about it.

“Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence!”

Leonardo da Vinci

Although silence is a very weak form of consensus, tacit acceptance procedures are frequently used. It means that if you don’t comment, you agree.

If we don’t dare to openly talk about Climate Change with whatever inconvenience it might bring, business-as-usual will prevail and that will definitely put an end to life as we know it.

Wikipedia on “Silence and Consensus”:
“Consensus can be presumed to exist until voiced disagreement becomes evident.”

Evolution have told us that we should learn and build from the knowledge of previous generations. But when it turns out that the “revered” lifestyle of current and previous generations is about to destroy the foundation for our very existence…
…We shouldn’t talk about it…??

Where are all the wise words and quotes about “Learning from your mistakes”, “Only people that sleep makes no mistakes” and so on… it is time to use them!

We really need to talk about it – and learn! Continue reading

Inequality didn’t just happen… It was Created!

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replacing “Old ways” with similarly flawed “New ways” isn’t going to help, is it…?

Two recent sets of data:

www.sorenandersson.comSince the Great Recession in 2008, Global Debt has increased by $57 trillion, outpacing world GDP growth, and is with $199 Trillion now at approx. 270% as a share of GDP.
(Source: McKinsey & CotheGuardian)

www.sorenandersson.comGlobal Wealth reached 250 trillion US dollars in 2015, slightly less than a year earlier, due to adverse exchange rate movements. Wealth is now at approx. 340% as a share of GDP
(Source: Credit Suisse)

Simple Math:

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So – if we subtract the Global Debt from the Global Wealth, there will still be $51 trillion left, corresponding to approx. 69% as a share of world GDP. Distributed equally on our current population of approx. 7,400,000,000 this corresponds to a wealth of $6,891 (€6,323) per every single human being on this planet… Continue reading

DEMOCRACY for sale – Free Trade Agreements…

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…I always thought it spelled DEMOCRACY, but apparently it spells “DEMOCRAZY“…

I am quite fond of a system where all people have an equal opportunity to get their voice heard, a system of government in which all the people of a state or polity are involved in making decisions about its affairs – Democracy.

But for quite some time now Democracy is deeply threatened by various forms of dictatorship, oligarchy, populism and last but definitely not least, Capitalism.

www.sorenandersson.comDemocracy – at its best…!

Recently we all experienced what Democracy can achieve, when the wast majority of countries on this planet through negotiations agreed; first on a set of Global Goals for Sustainable Development and then the Paris Agreement, a global agreement on the reduction of Climate Change.

For the People by the People!

These agreements where made by countries from all over the world, representing all different political systems, all different ethnicities and all religious communities, united in the belief that together we can solve the challenges ahead.

However, the basic and unchangeable rule of Democracy – “One Human = One Vote” – is more and more being distorted to “One Dollar/Euro = One vote“, by organisations, corporations and wealthy people.

This Sell-out of Democracy comes in many shapes and is not seldom disguised as “top-level” Economic forums or hidden in secretive “Free” Trade agreements…  Continue reading

Aviation – a Climate Change villain…

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With the new Sustainable Global Goals and a fresh Paris Agreement we have almost 200 countries (“out of 206”) in support of an ambitious agenda to save this planet.

Now it’s up to many industries, organizations and corporations to show where they stand.
In support of this democratically decided agenda or opposing it…

…and of course to show whether they are going to Act on it – to help make it happen – or choose just to “vaguely” express their approval and then continue Business-as-usual…

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.
If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse…”

Let’s take a look at an industry that is a master at “blowing smoke” – the Aviation-industry.

Continue reading

Inspiration has No Limits…!

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Whenever cheaters like VW, HSBC, Monsanto, Exxon or Lance Armstrong are disclosed, voices are raised to institute more and firmer laws and regulations, to increase supervision and compliance testing etc – but is this really the right or the best way forward?

I’m not in any way implicating that it is OK to break the law, to violate rules or good business practice, I’m just arguing that there might be other ways to reduce cheating.

Maybe we should look into Why people and corporations cheat… and start from there.

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A new beginning…

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COP21 in Paris is over, 196 countries reached on December 12th an historic international agreement outlining the ambition and the way forward towards a new Sustainable future…
The “Paris Agreement”.

On September 25th the UN General Assembly adopted resolution A/Res/70/1…
The Global Goals for Sustainable Development

What a great way to launch an incredible new journey.

Interpretations and comments of what the agreements “really say” are coming from various stakeholders and organizations – many of them stating that its “too little” or “lacking enough ambition”, “too many goals” etc – but regardless, governments around the world have never before shown such collective commitment to support the transition to a Sustainable Society.

www.sorenandersson.comLet us instead of squabbling about details make sure we get started and keep a high momentum, so that no more precious time is lost.

And don’t forget;
There is nothing in the agreements stating that we are not allowed to do more or better…!

Let’s take a look at some of the “challenges” ahead… Continue reading

Cheating is a Choice – Not a mistake…!

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… can we now expect a tsunami of cheats that will be revealed… is it the end of CSR?

Do you remember him, the bicycle-athlete who deceived everybody during most of his career – Lance Armstrong, or the sprinter Ben Johnsson, or Justin Gatlin – the list of cheaters seems to be endless. (An incomplete list of doping cases can be found Here – and these are only those who have been found...)

If athletes are tested positive for doping, they are almost always suspended for a period of three or more years, some countries are even drafting legal bills that would lead to imprisonment. On top of this the cheating athlete is publicly disgraced and sometimes stripped of their medals and titles.

This is the punishment society deems reasonable in relation to the extent of cheating – which simplified can be described as; “Cheating from the rules of fair play”.

Too-Big-to-Fail, HQ-OptWhat happens if a corporation cheats – from the rules of fair play, from legal demands, from Social Responsibility or from ethics…?

…could it be that corporations get away with cheating easier than individuals – is it yet another “Too Big to fail” phenomenon…?

Let’s take a look at some “big-time” cheats, and you can judge for yourself. Continue reading

“Average” – a Sustainable Role model…

Average-1, HQ-Opt

… It is probably a bit presumptuous to think that everybody, will live a life equal to all in Every aspect – it is possibly not even a desirable scenario…

What we should aim for is to get everybody closer to a Sustainable Average – an Average that is securely anchored on the positive side of the Sustainable Bottomline.

Today’s Role models are almost always based on the lifestyles among the wealthy – the highest income, the fanciest cars, the biggest boats, the grandest houses, the most frivolous parties and so on – with little or no consideration of the consequences of such abundance.

Let’s look at what a Sustainable Role Model could look like… Continue reading