It might not be as dramatic as the Thames flooding or Francois Hollande's midnight moped excursions but energy has nonetheless been grabbing the headlines for months now.
To those of us who study consumer attitudes to the topic, this is no surprise. More than a year ago, Behaviour Change conducted a YouGov survey showing that energy bills were the nation’s single biggest financial worry, and politicians and the media are of course sensitive to this.
There’s a house on Long Island that can keep you young. At least, that’s what the architects claim – and it’s no small matter in an ageing world. If I asked you what you’d look for in your ideal home, you might reply ‘a space to unwind’, or ‘a little love and laughter’. I’d be surprised if you came back with ‘rejuvenation’: a word used to sell face cream, not housing.
But perhaps we don’t give enough thought to the way in which our minds and bodies are constantly responding to the world around us. What an opportunity for brands! We may not know we want houses that keep us young, but it would make a great selling point in an estate agent’s window.
As part of the yearly ritual, I accompanied my parents to the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Lunar New Year gathering on the first day of the New Year. A visually stunning, highly festive, yet formal occasion this event is typically attended by a host of Ministers and Members of Parliament whose portfolios and interests involve engaging the Chinese business community.
Guest article by Nicolas Mounard, Managing Director of Twin
Last year, coffee prices continued their chaotic tumble on New York commodity markets, falling 20% to around $1.20 per pound. Thousands of miles away, this abstract futures market is having a very real-world effect on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The market price for coffee currently stands well below its actual cost of production, causing outcry and hunger in coffee farming communities.
Coffee is sadly just one example in our broken global food system, which sees the poorest and hungriest producing the majority of the world’s food to sell at unsustainable prices. With increasing additional pressures on farming such as climate change and urbanisation, something’s got to give.
‘We haven’t had any tea for a week; the bottom is out of the universe’ – Rudyard Kipling
After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Global consumption of tea jumped 60% between 1993 and 2010 and we now drink more than 3 billion cups a day. As consumers around the world get a taste for different types of tea, consumption is set to continue to rise, particularly in Asian markets.
A great time then to be in the tea trade? Well, not quite. No matter how much we love our tea, our deep-rooted desire for a cuppa will not safeguard its future. As with many other global commodities, the tea sector faces some real challenges which may, in the end, pose a real threat to future supply - and will almost certainly mean that we will be paying more for our favourite brew in the future.
Watch this video from Reuters in which Forum for the Future's co-founder director talks about his vision of a sustainable 2050.
The film comes off the back of Jonathon's latest book, The World We Made, which has been widely lauded as an optimistic and yet achievable imagination of how the earth - and society - could look by mid-century.
The World We Made is told through the words of Alex McKay, a teacher looking back from 2050, to tell the story of how we got from where we are today (in a pretty bad way, environmentally) to a much better place in the future.
Part history, part personal memoir, Alex's story charts the key events, technology breakthroughs and lifestyle revolutions that make the world what it is mid-century.
Forum’s Pioneer Partners come from a variety of sectors, from travel to telecommunications, land owners to retailers - but they all have one thing in common: ambitious sustainability goals that can’t be met on their own.
Big goals challenge our partners to look past the boundaries of their organisations and sector to create new products and innovative business models. Take Bupa, who aim to help 60 million people make changes to be healthier, happier and to help protect the environment; or O2, who want to remove ten times as much CO2 than is produced by their own operations from the economy.
However, working at the cutting edge of sustainable business can be a lonely place, so every couple of months we bring our Pioneer Partners together to help them overcome barriers they’re facing and identify places where they could move further and faster by working together.
This year we’ve looked at a whole range of challenges and learnt a new set of lessons to help us rise to them:
Clare Martynski spoke to Mark Jankovich, CEO of Forum Network member Delphis Eco, and explains how they're contributing to the #theBIGshift
Delphis Eco manufactures DEFRA-accredited EU Ecolabel cleaning products, primarily for commercial use. With customers that include schools, universities, supermarkets, restaurants and cinemas, they have the largest product range of this kind right now.
I paid a visit to this small, but growing, business, late last year. Besides the impressive standards and wall of awards, what was most impressive was their obvious passion for innovation and a sustainable future. Nothing can sum up their spirit better than the story of the Eco Turtle.
The one thing I hear time and time again, when working with others to solve sustainability challenges, is “you need strong leadership“. Having a great leader seems to be at the root of inspiring, enabling and delivering sustainability. Without it, change is incremental at best. Faced with accelerating trends like climate change, over use of nitrogen, biodiversity loss and so on, it’s imperative that sustainability leaders can catalyse change at a pace commensurate with these trends. So what does it take to become a leader in sustainability, and to ‘lead from within’, if that leadership doesn’t exist?
Forum for the Future is on the look-out for tomorrow’s leaders to join our next Leadership for Sustainable Development Masters course starting this September. In this thought-provoking blog post, current scholar Angela Green reflects on what the course has meant to her and why it will hold her in good stead for her future career.
Whenever people ask me what Masters I’m studying, I tend to tell them it’s ‘Sustainable Development’ and surprisingly most people know more or less what that means. However, I’ve always hesitated from saying the whole course title, ‘Leadership for Sustainable Development’, as though maybe the first bit doesn’t really matter, or that most people wouldn’t know why that bit was important to study (and, if I’m honest, because I’m perhaps slightly embarrassed by its lofty aims).
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