Top Stories

January 21, 2015


Climate change fails to register on CEO risks survey

Professional services group PwC’s 18th annual global CEO survey, released yesterday to coincide with the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, did not ask the 1,322 business leaders surveyed on business risks about their global warming concerns, after only 10% registered concern the previous year. A spokesperson for PwC said that climate change did not make it into the top 19 risks CEOs were questioned about because of their lack of interest in the subject. Furthermore, in  responding to a question about their top priorities for government, only 6% of respondents listed reducing the risk of climate change as a priority, putting it at the bottom of the list. At a time when sustainability experts are calling for tougher regulation to drive climate action, the PwC survey shows that overregulation leads the list of CEOs’ perceived risks, with 78% saying it threatens their organisation’s growth prospects. The Guardian writes that the results suggest that beyond a few ‘progressive’ examples, CEOs are far more focused on short-term growth than long-term climate risks. (The Guardian)


Data centre trends heighten vulnerability to climate risks

Like water, energy and waste management, digital telecommunications and data centres have become utilities essential for modern societies to function sustainably. However, a recent report from Riverside Technology and Acclimatise found that the business risks of climate change as they relate to telecoms and data centres are poorly recognised, particularly with respect to infrastructure and supply chains. Similarly, climate change resiliency and adaptation plans in this critical segment of the US ICT sector are poorly developed, concluded the report. “Despite the importance of these sectors, the climate risk they face is poorly understood. Even less understood are climate risks to the supply chains both sectors rely upon,” said the authors. Furthermore, though it boosts operational efficiency and the bottom line, the recent trend towards cloud computing increases the vulnerability of critical ICT infrastructure and supply chains to the impacts of extreme weather events. (Triple Pundit)

Responsible Investment

More than 150 investors demand climate action from BP and Shell

A coalition of investors including Sarasin & Partners, Church of England and the Environment Agency has pledged to put pressure on oil giants BP and Shell to assess, announce and tackle the dangers they pose to the climate. The coalition includes over 150 churches, local authorities and pension funds managing more than £200 billion of assets. The shareholder action, which includes resolutions calling on BP and Shell to commit to invest in renewable energy, is being led by the environmental law firm Client Earth and investor group ShareAction. “It’s time for BP, Shell and other companies with large carbon footprints to face their climate-change risk,” said Elspeth Owens, a barrister for Client Earth. The coalition holds about 1 per cent of the shares in both BP and Shell. If successful, the pressure will be broadened to include other firms that are accelerating climate change in industries such as oil, gas, coal, as well as the banks which finance them. (The Independent; BusinessGreen; Investment Week)


2015 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge seeks nature-inspired solutions to global food challenges

The Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation have announced that the latest Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, an annual competition that invites people around the world to address critical sustainability issues using nature as a guide, is now accepting entries for commercially viable, nature-inspired solutions to this year’s theme: food system challenges. The design challenge aims to accelerate market-ready, scalable solutions with a unique approach. The grand prize, to be awarded in 2016, is $100,000. “Seeding and accelerating nature-inspired solutions to global challenges is the aim of this new partnership,” said John Lanier, executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, and Anderson’s grandson.  “Our hope is that the Global Design Challenge will mobilise thousands of students and professionals around the world to tackle the problem of food security,” said Janine Benyus, biologist, author and founder of the Biomimicry Institute. (Sustainable Brands)


Ford challenges designers to transform its seat covers into couture fashion

On Monday, Ford Motor Company and Redress, a sustainable fashion charity organisation, announced the winners of The Redress Forum: Ford Design Challenge, in which 10 emerging designers from around the world transformed sustainable seat fabrics from Ford vehicles into couture garments at Hong Kong Fashion Week. Designers Veronica Lee and Amandah Andersson, from Malaysia and Sweden, respectively, won the competition. The concept of ‘upcycling’ wasted or abandoned materials has been creatively embraced in recent years by companies ranging from Starbucks and Carlsberg to Southwest Airlines and Mars. No stranger to upcycling, Ford engineers have incorporated materials made from everything from denim and Coke’s PlantBottle plastic to soybeans and tomato skins into its vehicles in an effort to reduce consumer and industrial waste, decrease depletion of natural resources and lower energy consumption.  (Sustainable Brands)



Image source: Road Train Australia by Thomas Schoch / CC BY-SA 3.0