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Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Can renewable energy sustain consumer societies?

A new report by Dr Ted Trainer for the Simplicity Institute questions the belief that technofixes (also in the form of the green renewable energy revolution) will solve our global sustainability crisis.

 

"Contradicting widely held assumptions, Trainer presents a formidable case that renewable energy and other ‘tech-fixes’ will be unable to sustain growth-based and energy-intensive consumer societies, with implications that are as profound as they will be unwelcome."

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What qualities do future leaders need to meet the challenges of the 21st century?

What qualities do future leaders need to meet the challenges of the 21st century? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Future Leaders team respond to the video below and tell us what they think makes a 21st century leader...

 

A few wise words, loads and loads of empty platitudes and nobody mentioning "the capacity to accept limits" as the number one feature of the required transition leadership. When even the WBCSD does not get it, how bleak is the future?

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Can we believe China's Corporate Social Responsibility rhetoric?

Can we believe China's Corporate Social Responsibility rhetoric? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"China is talking the talk of Corporate Social Responsibility in its 12th 5-year plan. It has even endorsed the UN Guidelines on Business and Human Rights. Simon Zadek argues that the new economic superpower sees a real interest in responsible and clean business, and that deeds will follow the rhetoric" (Source: Open Democracy)

 

Excellent must-read analysis of China's efforts to move to a cleaner and greener economy model. Is he painting too much of a rosy picture?

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CauliflowerEars's comment, March 24, 2012 10:45 PM
Corporate Social Repsonsibility with the Human Rights record China has, for example in Tibet? Sorry, I don't buy it - this may have some areas of substance but is basically greenwash.
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Post-Carbon Institute's (En)Rich List:: do we really need sustainability stars?

Post-Carbon Institute's (En)Rich List:: do we really need sustainability stars? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The (En)Rich List celebrates a wealth of inspirational individuals whose contributions enrich paths to sustainable futures.

 

I have ambiguous feelings about this list. Although some of these men and women are my personal heroes too, I wonder whether we should really celebrate individuals as "stars". Is this not the logic we should be fighting? Where is the role of the social movement?

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Transition écologique et sociale : les syndicats sont dans le coup

Transition écologique et sociale : les syndicats sont dans le coup | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Excellent article by French economist Jean Gadrey on progress in the trade union movement regarding the ecological and social transition.

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Dennis Meadows: it is too late for sustainable development

The Club of Rome and the Smithsonian Institution’s Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet hosted a symposium on March 1, 2012 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launching of Limits to Growth, the first report to the Club of Rome published in 1972.

 

Full webcast (over 8 hours) via this link on the Smithsonian Institute. Watch in particular Dennis Meadows' presentation (from min. 51) on why he thinks it is too late for sustainable development and why we should concentrate on resilience.

 

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New report: Sustainable ways of living are SPREADing across Europe

New report finds that a growing number of people across Europe are changing the ways in which they live, move, and consume in exchange for higher quality, less impact on the environment, and that saves money.

 

The report published by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) is the outcome of a  research project financed by the EU Commission called SPREAD Sustainable Lifestyles 2050.

 

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KPMG Says 'Hidden' Environmental Costs to Double Every 14 Years

KPMG Says 'Hidden' Environmental Costs to Double Every 14 Years | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

The costs of environmental impacts from businesses are on track to double every 14 years, according to an analysis of 10 global "megaforces."

 

Ranging from climate change to the growing middle class, these megaforces are expected to significantly affect corporate growth over the next 20 years, says KPMG International.

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On the Road Back to Rio, Green Direction Has Been Lost

On the Road Back to Rio, Green Direction Has Been Lost | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Twenty years ago, an historic environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro produced groundbreaking treaties and high hopes that pressing issues would be addressed. But as organizers prepare for the Rio+20 conference in June, there is little on the agenda to suggest any substantive action will be taken.

 

Brilliant and realistic analysis by New Scientist's Fred Pearce on the chances of Rio+20 to solve any of the unsustainability challenges.

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'Go sustainable, be responsible! European civil society on the road to Rio+20'

'Go sustainable, be responsible! European civil society on the road to Rio+20' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The EESC conference 'Go sustainable, be responsible! European civil society on the road to Rio+20' on 7-8 February 2012 in Brussels is intended to voice European civil society's positions on Rio+20 and help make Rio+20 a success. The conference is aimed at participants from European civil society associations, decision-makers, EU officials and public officials.

 

I will have the pleasure to moderate several debates in the context of this top conference on Rio+20 this week in Brussels. LiveTweets and LiveStreaming will be available.

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Open-market sustainability: the alternative to failing austerity policies

Open-market sustainability: the alternative to failing austerity policies | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"America has a pathway for leading a transition to global sustainability marked by widespread economic success and a reduction in strategic threats and friction. Pent-up demand and stranded capital can underwrite the economic engine of open-market sustainability, shifting from sprawl to smart growth, from industrial to regenerative agriculture, and from taxing income to taxing waste." (Source: Solutions Journal).

 

Brilliant analysis in Solutions Magazine by Patrick Doherty, director of the Smart Strategy Initiative at New America Foundation.An excellent effort to define a realistic policy blueprint beyond our unsustainable and unjust austerity policies.

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Radical new thinking was missing from Davos

Radical new thinking was missing from Davos | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Discussions at the World Economic Forum meeting focused largely on growth and left sustainable transformation at the periphery, says Chandran Nair...

 

Chandran Nair of the Global Insitute for Tomorrow hits the nail on the head with his evaluation of the Davos summit: political and business elites still shy away from the real and radical transformation. How could it be different as they have created the problems with their fundamentalist quasi-religious belief in uneconomic growth?

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Nachhaltigkeit: Schluss mit der Harmonie!

Nachhaltigkeit: Schluss mit der Harmonie! | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Umweltschutz und Wirtschaftswachstum konkurrieren eben doch – aber das wird oft verschwiegen. Es bedarf einer ehrlichen Diskussion über grünes Wachstum und Gerechtigkeit.

 

Brilliant article in Germany's Die Zeit: forget about the so-called harmony between economic growth and the environment. The current concept of sustainable development has become an enemy of ecological stability.

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Het grootste slachtoffer van de duurzaamheidscrisis zou wel eens de democratie kunnen zijn

Het grootste slachtoffer van de duurzaamheidscrisis zou wel eens de democratie kunnen zijn | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
De belangrijkste reden waarom de wereldgemeenschap niet aan duurzame ontwikkeling toekomt, is omdat de politici het lef niet hebben om te zeggen dat het totaal anders moet.
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BRICS Call for Accelerating Growth and Sustainable Development

BRICS Call for Accelerating Growth and Sustainable Development | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) issued the New Delhi Declaration on Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity, which calls for accelerating growth and sustainable development, food and energy...

 

Little hope for the future: BRICS are as stupid as former economic superpowers with a fundamentalist belief in accelerated growth and lots of praying for sustainability.

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Not European but Asian CEO's see sustainability as top-five challenge

"Top executives in Europe and the U.S. say global political and economic risk, and government regulation are their most pressing concerns, while Asian CEOs name innovation as their top challenge, closely followed by human capital—attracting, retaining, and rewarding talent."

 

Remarkable finding of this survey by The Conference Board: "Among Asian CEOs, the most critical challenge is innovation, followed closely by human capital. Global expansion and sustainability tied for third place. In a time of rapid economic development and change for the continent, Asia was the only region to rank sustainability as a top-five challenge for 2012."

 

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Land security: the next big sustainability challenge?

Land security: the next big sustainability challenge? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"As human population continues to grow, and more space is needed to grow the commodities demanded, ‘land’ is quickly becoming the nexus that holds all these trade-offs together and, we believe, will fundamentally challenge the environmental and climate agendas in the next few decades."

 

This new report published by the Earth Security Initiative is a call to action for investors and political leaders to put the land security issue high on the corporate and political agenda.

 

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An unconventional approach to creating a sustainable economy

An unconventional approach to creating a sustainable economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Unlike the economy, the planet is by nature sustainable and may offer alternative solutions to transforming our global economic systems, a new report suggests...

 

On the Guardian's Sustainable Business blog, John Fullerton of the Capital Institute asks five tough questions on the sustainability revolution of capitalism.

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Let's all grow sustainably! Hedegaard's rain dance for growth

Let's all grow sustainably! Hedegaard's rain dance for growth | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
We cannot set limits for growth. But which kind of growth do we need? An economic growth at any cost? Growth in itself is neither our enemy, nor our problem. It is the way we have grown, and the way we continue to grow that is our common challenge.

 

This article by EU climate commissioner Hedegaard is symptomatic of political leaders' stubborn denial of biophysical limits to growth. Of course, we "cannot set limits". It is our planet's operating system which sets them and we need to re-engineer our way of life accordingly.

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Is there an optimal degree of sustainability?

Is there an optimal degree of sustainability? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Very interesting essay on the Ethical Corporation website looking at trade-offs when companies move to more corporate sustainability.

 

The essay concludes that there is indeed an optimal level of sustainability for companies but that in the future this level will be increasing.

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Spain's Green Groups Slam Rollback of Conservation Policies

"Spain's new conservative government has announced changes in environmental policy that are a significant step backwards for environmental protection in the country, provoking an immediate, harsh reaction from the opposition and civil society."

 

For years we have heard from political leaders that economy and ecology should walk hand in hand, but when crisis hits, the environment is clearly left behind. In times where we need a transformational new "green" economy, the brown economy is back with a vengeance.

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Seizing Sustainable Development

Seizing Sustainable Development | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The world is on an unsustainable path, and must urgently chart a new course forward, one that brings equity and environmental concerns into the economic mainstream.

 

At Project Syndicate, Jacob Zuma and Tarja Halonen explain the conclusions of the UN's high-level panel on Global Sustainability for Rio+20.

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China’s big bet on green industry – and how it might green the world

"After the failure of Durban, a promising plan B to reducing carbon emissions rests upon green development industrial strategies being pursued by individual countries. And here China is in the vanguard." (Source: OpenDemocracy.net).

 

Although the story of Chinese "green industry' leadership might sound attractive to Western "greens", in reality China is just betting on all horses at the same time. It remains locked into the old paradigm of "no-limits" economic and industrial growth. It might in this way win the green competitiveness war, but it will not put the world on the path to the necessary sustainability transition.

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Governments need to play a key role in aligning business and sustainability

Governments need to play a key role in aligning business and sustainability | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The new UN report on global sustainability signposts some of the big policy moves needed to drive the economy on to a sustainable path...

 

Simon Zadek evaluates the recent UN Sustainability Panel's report in preparation for Rio+20.

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Sustainability reporting: immediate choices for the future

Sustainability reporting: immediate choices for the future | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Two new reports call for mandatory reporting as sustainability becomes increasingly central to the future of business...

 

Excellent article by Paul Hohnen on the Guardian's Sustainable Business blog about the need for mandatory corporate sustainability reporting.

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