Business-planet balance

Oct 07 - 2021

2 intense months at CISL, 8 blocks of study, global questions to the everyday, insights from industry, academics and co-students, the beginning of understanding where we are and 5 big picture lessons:

1 What is sustainability? much more than energy and carbon, the UNSDGs span ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring global prosperity; huge, there are 17 goals, there are all connected and they affect everyone.

2 Policy makers are moving on regulation and incentives, not fast enough, meanwhile other levers are working. As financial markets question the viability of cities and decline to back unsustainable projects, what will a government do if its capital cannot be insured? See above, it’s all connected.

3 Measuring is vital and difficult. We need precise and easy tools to understand impacts and to make informed choices, currently a minefield of greenwashing, competing systems, opaque supply chains and changing opinion. An example here.

4 Depressing, overwhelming? think radical and forward. Fast fashion continues but clothing rental is an option unimagined 5 years ago. Apply this to buildings which could change from owned, polluting and depreciating assets to repositories of valuable parts on temporary loan, available for perpetual re-purpose. No match for today’s construction model, could fit a future one.

5 We are good at innovation so there is hope for change, not least because solutions to biodiversity loss or mass migration are also business opportunities. We see the dark side of this in people trafficking, and the positive in restorative design and frugal technology.


Sustainability Business Management, Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership 

There Will Be No Miracles Here, Nathan Coley, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 2020


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