Two Sides of the Same Coin: Sustainability and Profitability

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Two Sides of the Same Coin: Sustainability and Profitability

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Friday, October 5, 2012 - 9:30am

CAMPAIGN: CSR Blogs

CONTENT: Blog

The current human population of 7 billion has put pressure on ecosystem services, resources, food supplies and species survival. By 2050, the population is estimated to swell to a staggering 9 billion. At that time, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), humanity will require three times the amount of fossil fuels, biomass, ores and minerals that we use up now—some 140 billion tons of "fuel"—to feed its appetite for consumption (or rather, destruction).

Today, the more advanced economies have the most insatiable appetites. "Developed countries' citizens consume an average of 16 tons of those four key resources per capita (ranging up to 40 or more tons per person in some developed countries)," UNDP says. "By comparison, the average person in India today consumes four tons per year."[1]

UNDP warned that the tripling of resource depletion which would occur under BAU (business as usual) would be "far beyond what is likely to be sustainable."[2]

REDUCING OUR APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION

One way to reduce our appetite for destruction would be for consumers to buy and consume less stuff. Another is for companies to become more sustainable, and in particular, resource efficient. Considering that—according a 2010 report for the UN—the world's top firms caused USD 2.2 trillion in environmental damage in 2008 alone[3], resource efficiency must become a primary piece of business strategy across the board.

Reynard is a Justmeans staff writer for Sustainable Finance and Corporate Social Responsibility. A former media executive with 15 years experience in the private and non-profit sectors, Reynard is the co-founder of MomenTech, a New York-based experimental production studio that explores transnational progressivism, neo-nomadism, post-humanism and futurism. He is also author of the blog 13.7 Billion Years, covering cosmology, biodiversity, animal welfare, conservation and ethical consumption. He is currently developing the Underground Desert Living Unit (UDLU), a sustainable single-family dwelling envisioned as a potential adaptation response to the future loss of human habitat due to the effects of anthropogenic climate change. Reynard is also a contributing author of "Biomes and Ecosystems," a comprehensive reference encyclopedia of the Earth's key biological and geographic classifications, to be published by Salem Press in 2013.

Keywords: Sustainable Finance & Socially Responsible Investment | MoRE World | Resource Efficiency | Resource Scarcity | population | sustainability | sustainable development | united nations

CAMPAIGN: CSR Blogs

CONTENT: Blog