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  • Experts feel the urgency of issues like food safety is on the increase but corporate performance is still lagging behind. Image © David W Oliver, Flickr

    What issues are sustainability experts most concerned about? How well is the private sector addressing these challenges? Which sectors are most accountable for tackling these vexing problems? After analyzing responses from nearly 900 sustainability experts in 91 countries, the recently released 2013 Issues Survey, Challenges, Performance and Accountability, dives into these thorny issues, with mixed results.

    It’s been nearly two years since The GlobeScan / Sustainability Survey explored how our international pool of sustainability experts see issues—ranging from climate change to food safety—and the urgency and corporate performance surrounding them. In 2011 our survey (Key Challenges and Industry Performance) found urgency regarding several leading issues was in a slightly downward trend, and industries received mixed reviews about their ability to manage the transition to sustainable development—with no sectors receiving high marks for sustainability performance. …

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  • Speakers highlighted the electrification of cities as a major opportunity for cutting carbon emissions. But collaboration between city administrations and ICT intelligence providers will be critical to harmonizing electricity supply and demand.

    Last week, I attended the ‘Business Day’ event held by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) as part of World Climate Summit 2013 during COP19 in Warsaw. The mission of the day was to explore WBCSD’s ‘big ideas’ to avoid the trillionth ton of carbon. For WBCSD, the big ideas are business solutions, the core of their recently launched Action 2020. The Action 2020 framework for action builds upon Vision 2050 and considers nine priority areas, including climate change, which addressed together will bring about transformative change….

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  • The battle for a sustainable future will be won or lost in our cities. Image credit: CC license by art-dara/Flickr

    Although occupying only 2% of the Earth’s land surface, cities account for more than 60% of global energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions. Over 3.5bn people are city dwellers today, and by 2050 that number is projected to almost double. With figures like these, it’s not a stretch to say that our battle for a sustainable future will be won or lost in our cities.

    So how do we win that battle? Early in 2012 we started exploring this very question in Citystates: How Cities are Vital to the Future of Sustainability, and last week I had the opportunity to chair a panel on the subject at Convergence Paris. Joining me were two people with a lot of experience in this area: Peter Madden from Catapult Future Cities, and Sterling Hughes from Silver Spring Networks.

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  • I mentioned in an end 2011 article for GreenBiz, on Simon Mainwaring’s view of Contributory Consumption, that I’d had the opportunity to visit the LIVESTRONG Foundation HQ in Austin, TX as part of a series of Sustainable Life Media meetings last month hosted by Dell.

    I was in Texas while COP 17 was playing out in Durban, so it may be the coincidence of timing leading me to make a connection, but I have been pondering similarities between society’s struggles to defeat cancer to the battle against global warming. Is there a lesson here?

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  • I’ve just returned from a visit to Philadelphia and New York last week where I had the opportunity for in-depth conversation with students and faculty at Wharton Graduate School of Business, as well as business and thought leaders from Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, SAP, Unilever, Interbrand, Ogilvy, GRI, Corporate Responsibility, SustainAbility, The Economist and many others. All of these conversations touched on how we are unfolding our thinking about, and finding ways to measure, new forms of value that business might deliver to its customers and other stakeholders in the future. Underpinning these rich and varied conversations was the growing drumbeat, launched in New York, of #occupywallstreet. This growing movement is yet another indicator of the pressure on business to demonstrate its ability to extend its focus beyond profit to other forms of value creation for broader swaths of society.

    The fact that the focus of #occupywallstreet seems to center on “corporate greed” as the target of its aggregated angst is just one sign of disconnect between business and the stakeholders to whom business is supposed to be delivering value.

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  • Water surrounds me, both literally and figuratively.

    I am in Stockholm – a city of islands – this week to attend World Water Week, an annual conference sponsored by the Stockholm International Water Institute. I am here at the invitation of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and yesterday facilitated a fascinating workshop WBCSD sponsored on water risk and some of the tools being developed to assess and manage it…

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  • In just the last few weeks, one of the worst E. coli outbreaks in history has killed 37 people and made more than 2,600 ill, academics concluded that climate change will have more negative consequences for agriculture than expected, and the UN’s Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization released a guide warning “world farming needs a ‘major shift’ to more sustainable practices as intensive crop production since the 1960s has degraded soils, depleted ground water and caused pest outbreaks.”

    Industry and food system experts interviewed for SustainAbility’s latest report, Appetite for Change, read trends such as these and conclude that the food industry is failing…

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  • For more than two decades companies have valued our ability to serve as their early warning system, to interpret what is happening in the world today and how it may impact their business tomorrow.

    Our “Radar” services range from the general – monthly cross-industry trending digests – to the bespoke – tailored analysis of the most critical emerging issues to your business, and recommendations on how to tackle them.

    This is the third in a series of blogs giving a glimpse of what’s on our radar…

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  • Jennifer Biringer recaps her panel at the SoCap Conference, and links to the broader state of biodiversity.

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  • An Interview with Caroline Chisholm of Earthwatch

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  • As BP struggles to contain the potentially devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, familiar questions are being ask

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  • Gary Kendall explains why the 2°C threshold for dangerous climate change is so important.

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