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  • Copyright (c) Kyra Choucroun

    Despite years of thinking about the traditional model of economic growth, it wasn’t until I drove through rural Ghana that it truly hit me just how spectacularly it has failed to deliver on the promise of global prosperity.

    In my last blog I challenged the widely held belief that infinite growth is both necessary and viable. That piece generated a flood of responses, from howls of protest at one extreme to speaking invitations at the other. And it was one of those invitations that led me to Ghana in the first place, to share my views on how Africa can play a part in tackling the world’s most complex challenges at a youth-led conference in Kumasi.

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  • A global culture of consumerism has firmly taken hold – the average British woman buys half her body weight in clothing every year; a typical American purchases more stuff every day than an average American weighs; more than 30 million tons of food was dumped in landfills in the US in 2009; and the largest shopping centre in Europe has just opened as the gateway to the London 2012 Olympics. Yet as resources become more constrained, economies stall and businesses begin to think more innovatively about different ways of delivering value to the customer, there are some signals of hope for a reversal in the way that consumers value and use products and services.

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  • This post was co-authored by Mark Lee (SustainAbility) and Chris Coulter, (GlobeScan) and originally appeared on Guardian Sustainable Business on 15 September 2011.

    It’s tough now to be optimistic about policy, the economy or their combination. The eurozone is reeling in the face of defaults and potential defaults as well as lack of shared vision about managing and paying for future challenges. US stock markets entered August downbeat after the bitterly partisan deficit showdown. They then suffered major declines by the month’s end, while the job-creation numbers released at the start of September suggest American economic malaise will linger. Emerging economies remain vibrant, even boisterous, but questions about inflation in Brazil and elsewhere are amplifying, debate over corruption has taken centre stage in India and pundits wonder how China can maintain torrid growth while its western export markets remain in the doldrums.

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  • In GlobeScan and SustainAbility’s latest survey of sustainability experts, we notice a worrying trend emerging: the sense of urgency to address critical sustainability issues is in decline across the globe.

    In fact, the five most urgent issues on the sustainability agenda – climate change, water scarcity, food security, poverty, and biodiversity loss – are all perceived as less urgent challenges than they were in 2009…

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  • In a previous post, I shared some insights on open data’s relevance to sustainability reporting and stakeholder engagement. While the move to open data has many benefits, including enabling stronger stakeholder connections, companies have been slow to voluntarily go public with their datasets. At the same time, companies that are already moving down this path have recognized the challenge of ensuring the data they release is truly useful to stakeholders.

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  • With a dismal jobs report released in the U.S. just prior to the Labor Day long weekend – see this CNN Money article for details – the day and its moniker will be marked with a sense of irony and even despair this year by the many who fervently wish they could find paid employment. Securing work is a staggering task at present, as captured in this New York Times feature, Hope Fear and Insomnia: Journey of a Jobless Man. Greater confidence among those with jobs would be most welcome too; this economy feels a fragile thing.

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