3 minute read
Faced with environmental crises and the urgent need for change, the concept of sustainability has become a symbol of a better future and the survival of our planet. However, due to the complexity and severeness of the environmental issues, we may wonder: Are we truly equipped to tackle the challenges of sustainability head-on? Are we ready to rethink our consumption patterns, redefine economic paradigms, and embrace innovation with open arms? And most importantly, what can we do to foster a more sustainable world?
To address these questions, we have gathered valuable insights and trends from the Future Tense 2023 business conference to formulate guidelines for the transition from our current paradigm of extraction to one of creation.
1. We Must Rethink our Society and Economic System
With ever faster technological progress, and economic and political ambitions, it is crucial that we stop for a moment and think about the consequences of our actions. Gerd Leonhard, a futurist who shared his insights at the Future Tense 2023 business conference, encapsulated the gravity of the situation in a statement: „If the purpose of society is to make more money no matter what the costs, we are going to face the end of humanity, roughly by 2050.“
To avert such a catastrophic outcome, we must collectively and decisively change the way we think, conduct business, and live our lives. Leonhard also highlighted that “as bad as the climate situation is, we possess the science, technology, and financial resources to solve the problem. We spend $6.8 trillion a year on fossil fuel subsidies. Companies make two and a half billion dollars in profit per day, which means that money is flowing enough, just in the wrong direction. We need to redirect it, and open new funds to finance alternative energy. The only thing missing is political decisions to redirect it because the climate is no longer a scientific problem; scientific solutions are on the table.”
2. Replacing Fossil Fuels with the Renewable Energy
The global energy demand continues to rise, necessitating a constant adoption of measures that mitigate the environmental impact of energy exploitation while ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. As a company whose activities revolve around energy and the environment, HEP recognizes the pivotal role these aspects play. Since renewable energy sources are the key to green, safe and affordable energy, HEP has developed a strategy to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the portfolio by 50 percent from 2018 to 2030. In order to achieve this goal, it invests in a number of renewable energy technologies such as plants for the production of energy from forest biomass, solar power plants, wind power plants and the construction of highly efficient cogeneration plants. HEP is just one of the companies that have embraced the wave of sustainable business and renewable energy sources, recognizing that this path represents the future.
3. Using Technology to Solve Climate Issues
Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, becoming an indispensable part of our daily routines. However, despite its pervasive presence, we have yet to fully leverage technology to confront the pressing challenges of climate change. Gerd envisions technology as “the key to solving most of our practical social human problems. Practical scientific problems such as climate, energy, water, and food can be solved with technology. However, our biggest problem is that we invent technology to solve all problems while, on the other hand, we don’t have enough wisdom to use it properly.”
4. Decouple Instead of Degrowth
Over the years, scientists have tirelessly cautioned us about the rapid expansion of humanity, which gives rise to a multitude of threats to the survival of our planet. These threats encompass air pollution, habitat destruction, scarcity of vital resources, and more. Consequently, the notion of degrowth has gained prominence as a means to address these concerns.
However, Gerd offers an alternative perspective, suggesting that a degrowth policy may not be entirely realistic. Instead, he proposes that we can achieve sustainable growth as a society by harnessing technology to bend the curve of CO2 emissions. The key lies in decoupling economic growth from carbon emissions through the intelligent use of technology and the implementation of supportive policies. This approach enables us to continue advancing as a global community while actively reducing our carbon footprint. It underscores the idea that technology and politics must work hand in hand to facilitate meaningful change and pave the way for a sustainable future.