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Everything, everywhere, all at once


I attended The Economist Impact #sustainabilityweek2023 conference in London and was invited to a dinner by Lloyds Banking Group before Easter. Here are some of the key messages coming from the CEO and heads of sustainability of world-leading companies from the conference:

  • #greenwashing is abundant: robust evidence-led reporting with peer review is needed- this also links to EU Taxonomy and Corporate Social Reporting Directive.

  • #ESGs being produced need more insight, action and reporting on other environmental and social factors: The majority focus too much on carbon, and more must focus on #water #health #nature #governance. Some companies need to start not to use ESG and focus more on nature-positive and led actions and reporting - companies growing use science-based data and reporting.

  • #collaboration and #partnerships were mentioned as a way forward to resolve the climate crisis. However, many lack examples of how to do this...hum...

  • #resilence was finally mentioned by Baroness Brown Julia King DBE FREng FRS (hurrah) and adaption for future extreme events. There is a lack of any mention of resilience action or planning! #greeninfrastructure (GI) can assist in the adaption and future of cities and urban landscapes with multi-benefits, including cost reduction - prevention is always cheaper than the cure -, also value increase and risk reduction. E.g. 2007 floods in Sheffield city centre cost damages £50 to £69 million - the flood prevention GI project Grey to Green Project in Sheffield Phase 1 cost £3.6 million To put into context, the floods in 2007 cost damages of up to £674 million.

Some thoughts:

  • #insurance With increasing flood risk, coastal erosion and extreme heat, some properties are already uninsurable risk. There needs to be incentives in place for businesses to invest in GI to e.g. insurance premium reduced if GI resilience has been implemented.

  • #greenskills are lacking, and education programmes are required to inspire younger generations and upskill the existing workforce - need to roll out a programme of apprenticeships, lateral industries to work together, recognition in valuing construction and technician skills and finance to help create a programme and fund change. Also, need to include reskilling in the collaborative processes and practice.

  • #wateruse was mentioned quite a few times by agri-related businesses, and I suspect will increase as an area of concern; however, nearly zero mention of increased temperatures and #UrbanHeatIslandEffect. How will properties, neighbourhoods, towns and cities be retrofitted to be more flood resilient, slow the rate of water and reuse rainwater? Who pays?

  • #Mutual /co-benefits between carbon, biodiversity and health and well-being. If it's good for nature and the environment and economy. If it's good for health, low carbon and likely to assist carbon sequestration by default.

  • Too much focus on #technology and #carbon. No app, data, or hardware will resolve this solely; in fact, it might accelerate the climate and biodiversity crisis. No point in having the tech if no one can install or maintain it. Nor the hardware to fail in extreme weather.


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