Saturday, 18 December 2010
Thursday, 9 December 2010
On the panel when the declaration was presented was
Luis Alfonso de Alba, Special Representative for Climate Change, Mexico
Derrick Hanekom, Vice Minister for Technology, South Africa
Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Environment and Forests, India (TBC)
Dr. Adrian Fernandez, President of the National Institute of Ecology.
Hans Vestberg, CEO Ericsson and Luis Neves Chairman GeSI participated over video...
It was great to hear the positive response from Mexico as the host and South Africa as the host for COP17... From now on ICT and transformative low-carbon solutions can be part of the global climate agenda...
ICT companies stand up for key role in Cancun
The Guadalajara Declaration, with a focus on transformative low-carbon ICT climate solutions, is launched at COP16 in Cancun
A group of key ministers and business executives, under the leadership of the Mexican government, met today at the Cancun Messe to present and discuss the "Guadalajara ICT Declaration for Transformative Low Carbon Solutions," in conjunction with the 16th Conference of the Parties, where the global climate negotiations are ongoing. The Declaration is supported by more than 40 companies and organizations, representing more than 1 trillion USD in turnover in 2009, from more than 20 countries." The declaration will be supported by the establishment of a public-private work stream with focus on transformative low-carbon ICT solutions, which will be carried forward to COP17.
Historically climate negotiations have focused on high carbon emitting sectors, and industry was seen as the problem. The declaration stemmed from the need of many companies with solutions to climate change to have their voices heard, and the industry has come together to develop it after COP15. "The declaration has generated high interest around the world, and more and more companies are signing on to the declaration every day," says Luis Neves, Chairman of the Global e-sustainability Initiative (GeSI), who together with its member companies has led the work around the declaration. The declaration builds on early work of the sector showing ICT's potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 15% by 2020, in the Smart2020 report.
-"We see it as important to recognize that the products and services of solution sectors, such as ICT, can help make transformational change to reduce CO2 emissions and mitigate climate change," said Mexican Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, ?? Special Representative for Climate Change. "These companies will play an important role by helping to drive innovation and create jobs in the low-carbon economy. Supporting the launch a public-private work stream with focus on transformative low-carbon solutions comes as a natural continuation of the public-private dialogues Mexico has supported during the preparations for COP16," Ambassador de Alba added. "Mexico has been working with the ICT sector during 2010, and is very pleased with this important outcome."
-"Ericsson strongly supports the launch of the public-private work steam with focus on transformative low-carbon solutions and congratulates the Mexican government for their leadership in taking this historic step," said Hans Vestberg, President and CEO, Ericsson. "In order to leverage the broadband infrastructure which is deployed around the world, we need to have a supporting policy framework. This will help to accelerate the uptake of transformative low-carbon solutions in areas such as transportation, utilities, communication, health and the creation of smarter, more sustainable societies in general. ICT solutions are unique because they can be used by all countries," Vestberg added. "This is good for environment as well as for the economy."
-"Encouraging companies that provide low-carbon solutions that also help poverty reduction and that can support technological leapfrogging is very important and we look forward to engage in this public-private work stream and we will use the results as input in the work towards COP17," said Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa.
- Georg Kell, Executive Director, UN Global Compact, commented: "Technology and especially ICT has an enormous potential to drive green growth and sustainability. Already there are many smart solutions that show that more can be done with less. Now we need to support incentives so that smart solutions can diffuse rapidly."
- "ICT currently plays an important role in the Southeast Asia's rapid economic growth. However, given our region's vulnerability to the effects of climate change and Indonesia's national emissions reduction target, there is a pressing need for our industry to also develop solutions which enable mitigation and adaptation while facilitating development. Bakrie Telecom looks forward to studying the role ICT can play in meeting this need and welcomes the public-private work stream on transformative low-carbon solutions," said Anindya Bakrie, CEO Bakrie Telecom.
"If we want to work towards an effective global agreement for climate protection, we need to consider alliances between business and public actors. ICT can foster the sustainable development of our society and economy by increasing the resource efficiency in almost all industries. It can enable new business models thus creating new business opportunities. Therefore alliances with all partners - be it companies or public institutions - are today a matter of urgency," said René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom.
An initial meeting to develop a more detailed work plan and agree on roles and responsibilities will be held in South Africa early 2011.
Saturday, 27 November 2010
New report: Transformative Transparency (part of the low-carbon leaders for transformative solutions)
Transformative transparency: definition
Transformative transparency occurs at the threshold point at which massive amounts of data on goods, services, or even individuals, can be accessed instantly, in ways that allow users, or programs, to make decisions and provide immediate feed-back.
At such a point, an interactive “reality search engine,” i.e, a situation in which objects and events in reality, not words or sentences on the web, are processed, becomes possible.
This requires an infrastructure with high connectivity and a critical mass of users who engage with this information. The current situation with smart phones and connected devices indicates that we have just arrived at this point.
Saturday, 20 November 2010
Saving the planet with web 2.0: Using web- and mobile tools to generate, support and implement transformative low-carbon solutions
Here is finally the report “Saving the planet with web 2.0: Using web- and mobile tools to generate, support and implement transformative low-carbon solutions”. It's been almost a year since I started writing it, but now it's ready.
It’s been a very interesting process and it inspired the new project “Transformative applications” that I will launch Q1 2011. I really look forward to see how the discussion about web 2.0 will become mainstream over the next years. As always it is fascinating to see how slow most organizations are to use/adopt and understand what’s happening around us. I really hope those interested in saving the planet and that are not afraid of technology will read this report.
The world’s climate negotiators will meet in Cancun in early December to discuss the possible ways forward for global efforts to avoid dangerous climate change. Some pessimistic voices have been heard, but it should not be forgotten that much indicates that we will see a historic shift in Cancun, a shift where solution companies and transformative solutions are given
a more prominent role.
economy by 2050).
2. It is time to encourage more public-private partnerships and bring in the views of industry and various sectors and companies that can provide solutions to climate change, and not only focus on those with big emissions.
solutions. If not these investments will lock us into a high-carbon society that is not able to
deliver the necessary reductions.
Still, it is common to discuss the cheapest reductions of incremental reductions without analyzing whether these reductions are the best way to ensure the reductions that are needed to avoid dangerous climate change.
infrastructure; all countries can use such solutions and they support technological leapfrogging.
many policy makers in China. During the fourth International CEO roundtable of Chinese and foreign multinational corporations, Zheng Wantong, vice-chairman of China’s top political consultative body, highlighted that the ICT is a useful tool to make cities more convenient,
efficient and safe.
international companies to explore how they can help reduce global CO2 emissions together and create jobs. Accelerating uptake of solar solutions in China and the rest of the world require intensive international collaboration.
What is encouraging with a solution approach around transformative solutions, such as low-carbon ICT solutions, is that they support and depend on collaboration. Low-carbon ICT solutions that enable a 21st century transport and communication system need electric
batteries for both cars and laptops.
This requires software solutions to control charging of electric cars and secure connections so that people can telework and do other things that different companies must collaborate
to accelerate the uptake of transformative low-carbon solutions.
low-carbon solutions could be launched in Cancun during COP16. China is well placed as we move into the solution phase of the global climate work and hopefully we will see many concrete examples in Cancun as well as during 2011.
The author is global policy adviser to several leading companies and governments. He is also director of the UN Global Compact project “Low Carbon Leaders for transformative solutions"
Sunday, 31 October 2010
”A point has been reached in history when we must shape our actions throughout the world with a more prudent care for their environmental consequences. Through ignorance or indifference we can do massive and irreversible harm to the earthly environment on which our life and well-being depend. Conversely, through fuller knowledge and wiser action, we can achieve for ourselves and our posterity a better life in an environment more in keeping with human needs and hopes.”
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment Paragraph 6
Stockholm, 5 to 16 June, 1972
”Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being.”
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
Agenda 21, Chapter 1
Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992
”We acknowledge that a number of positive results have been achieved, but we are deeply concerned that the overall trends with respect to sustainable development are worse today than they were in 1992. We emphasize that the implementation of Agenda 21 in a comprehensive manner remains vitally important and is more urgent now than ever.”
The Commission on Sustainable Development (Rio +5)
Statement of Commitment
New York, June 1997
”The deep fault line that divides human society between the rich and the poor and the ever-increasing gap between the developed and developing worlds pose a major threat to global prosperity, security and stability. The global environment continues to suffer. Loss of biodiversity continues, fish stocks continue to be depleted, desertification claims more and more fertile land, the adverse effects of climate change are already evident, natural disasters are more frequent and more devastating and developing countries more vulnerable, and air, water and marine pollution continue to rob millions of a decent life.”
World Summit on Sustainable Development,
The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development
Johannesburg, September, 2002
If they are honest the world's leaders will have to repeat the same message that they have given for more than 40 years now. Hopefully they will also provide a message regarding solutions this time... Today the solutions exist that can solve most of the challenges, we just need leadership and policy makers that don't listen to business leaders that cling to 20th century business models and see people as consumers.
Maybe a 100+ years old quote can inspire:
”You may accept this as the world of reality, you may consent to be one scar in an ill-dressed compound wound, but so - not I! This is a dream too - this world. Your dream, and you bring me back to it - out of Utopia.”
H.G Wells, A Modern Utopia, 1905
Thursday, 28 October 2010
Meeting in Guadalajara to explore transformative low-carbon ICT solutions in the global climate negotiations
So far the ICT sector has not played a very visible role in the global climate negotiations, but a couple of things make COP16 in Cancun different:
1. Up until recently in the negotiations process the main focus was on the initial reductions agreed under the Kyoto protocol, about 5% reductions. It is now time to focus on solutions that can deliver significant reductions (for example 30% or more by 2020 in EU as being discussed by policy makers)
2. It is time to encourage more public private partnerships, and bring in the views of industry and various sectors and companies that can provide solutions to climate change, and not only focus on those with big emissions.
The ICT sector already delivers many solutions that help to significantly reduce emissions with 90% or more and that can contribute to a low-carbon economy. The meeting in Guadalajara is an important step to ensure that the ICT sector is an integrated part of the global climate discussions and that the solutions from the sectors are better understood and that knowledge about transformative solutions is shared in the global climate negotiations.
The outcome and recommendations of this meeting will be circulated to negotiating parties before COP16, and delivered at the CEO roundtable event on Dec 6.
We look forward to your participation in Guadalajara. Sincerely,
Assistant Secretary for Economic Relations and International Cooperation Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mexico
Mexico City, October 27, 2010
"2009 and 2010 have seen rapid progress in the maturity of ICT vendors both in terms of their internal environmental programs, and the development of a set of low-carbon market offerings," said Simon Mingay, research vice president at Gartner. "We now have a clear group of market makers formed by BT, IBM, Cisco, Ericsson, HP, Fujitsu, and SAP who we believe are beginning to build a distinguishing capability. However, at this stage they have not really taken the issues associated with climate change and sustainability into the core of the business and their strategies, and they continue to deal with it within the mindset of incremental improvement and short-termism."
Gartner and WWF invited 28 global ICT providers* to participate. Nineteen chose to participate by providing the required information. Those companies include: Accenture, Alcatel-Lucent, BT, CSC, Cisco, Dell, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Microsoft, SAP, Sun Microsystems**, TCS, Verizon, Wipro and Xerox.
The survey, the second of its kind, examined ICT providers' commitment to managing the environmental aspects of their internal operations and their supply chain. Very importantly, it also explored their capabilities in advancing the low-carbon solutions markets and developing products and services that will help them and their customers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or increase their energy efficiency.
"The good news is that we don't see anyone going backwards," said Mr. Mingay. "But, across every category*** there are clearly a group who are on the move and a group who seem to be treading water relatively." IBM, Fujitsu, HP, Cisco and BT ranked in the top five positions, while others such as Verizon and Lenovo did not score particularly well, and held the No. 19 and No. 17 spots, respectively. Mr. Mingay said Microsoft, ranked in the No. 13 position overall, is making reasonable progress, from a relatively weak starting point.
The survey revealed that service and software providers have improved their position from 2008, but remain relatively immature in terms of both their internal programs, as well as their market offerings. SAP, ranked No. 8 overall, did substantially better than any of the other large software and services organizations. SAP has put sustainability at the heart of its communications and closer to its strategy over the last 18 months. The survey also found that Fujitsu, ranked No. 2, is the only ICT provider to set a long-term context to its initiatives, and want to help reduce more emissions in society through low carbon IT solutions than their own emissions. Fujitsu has set itself a carbon reduction goal in terms of its impact on its customers versus a target related to their own emissions. Finally, ICT providers in Asia (not Japan) are still lagging overall, but making some dramatic improvements, which Gartner analysts anticipate will continue.
The dominance of talking in 2008, when Gartner and WWF Sweden completed their first assessment has evolved into much more action in 2009 and 2010. "We now have a number of ICT providers with an actual low carbon portfolio and a readiness to move from an incremental contribution into the center stage when it comes to providing society with low carbon solutions," said Magnus Emfel, director of Climate Program, WWF Sweden. "It is precisely this shift — from ICT as a minor contributor to global emissions to a major enabler of low-carbon solutions — that we need to see replicated in business strategies and urban planning, if we are to succeed in the transition to a low carbon economy and stabilize the climate."
The survey also found that inter-industry partnerships are starting to emerge, particularly from ICT providers including Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and IBM. This is a very significant and important step in ICT's ability to develop commercially viable solutions for a low-carbon economy, particularly around smart grid, intelligent buildings and smart city infrastructures.
When looking at ICT's own impact, and the focus on the 2 percent of ICT's global CO2 emissions, it has become evident that hardware vendors, such as HP, Ericsson and Fujitsu are increasingly focused on the energy efficiency of their equipment and making it a core business, while for software and services organizations this is not the case. Very few vendors are thinking about dematerialization in any real systematic way, though Xerox is one of the few exceptions that is reusing and recycling parts.
Collectively the ICT industry has enhanced its game in terms of providing solutions in other areas, e.g. transport and buildings, to help reduce the 98 percent of global CO2 emissions that are not generated by ICT, but that can be reduced with the help of smart ICT.
"Although the leaders in the Carbon Delivery sections such as IBM, Fujitsu, HP, BT, Ericsson and Cisco have begun to build structural capabilities, governance, and allocated organizational resources to addressing the opportunities of a low-carbon economy, their commitment still falls short of being integrated into their core business," Mr. Mingay said.
Gartner's client interactions and analysis of the survey suggests this is due to a lack of spending on low-carbon and sustainability-related solutions by the public and private sectors, except in the area of smart grids, but also to the ICT sector's conservative approach built on incremental changes in existing technologies and capacity.
"We were surprised at the lack of disruptive innovation, with the majority of responses essentially focused on the incremental 'client-driven' development," said Dennis Pamlin, co-author and independent consultant working for WWF Sweden on this project. "If the ICT industry is to deliver on its promise of making a significant contribution to enabling a transformation to a low-carbon economy it is going to require substantially more than marginal incrementalism."
"No one is making any serious effort to extend the life of equipment beyond the basics one would expect of improving reliability and quality," said Mr. Mingay. "But, with the management of e-waste and rare earth metals rapidly turning into a substantial global challenge and the growth of emerging markets the industry needs to be giving much more serious thought to dematerialization, recycling and longevity."
Additional information is available in the research note "Summary Report: Low-Carbon and Environmental Leadership in the ICT Industry by Gartner and WWF, 2010." The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1456140.
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Shaping tings is a fun book that is well worth reading. It has the feeling of a teenager that look at the world with fresh eyes and was allowed the time to get the thoughts down on paper. The structure that is presented is interesting even if the different phases of humanities relation to things has been discussed in countless books. The design and connected economy present a new filter for the history, but any reader should be aware that the book is also shallow in a way that makes it more of a source for general inspiration and less helpful for those looking for concrete guidance.
Still the book is written in a way that could/should inspire a new generation of activists.
This time not biologists and bird watchers that saw that the consequences of industrialization and gave us books such as silent spring 30-40 years ago. That was the first generation of “environmentalists”. It also moves beyond the current generation, that is dominating the discussion today, who uses the language of the economists and lawyers (often without deeper knowledge of the disciplines) and focus how the current system can be tweaked. These people spend the time trying to put a price on nature (eco system services, etc) or argue that it is illegal/expensive to destroy nature from an anthropocentric perspective that use today’s economy as the reference. They give us CCS, a shift in current car fleets to biofuel and other dead-end solutions.
If the first generation wanted to “get back to nature” the second generation wants to see incremental solutions, such as CCS and biofuel for cars. Sterling is part of what I would like to call the third wave of environmentalists that take for granted the fact that our planet has limits and that changes are needed. This generation approach the challenge through the lens of 21st century technology and values.
The focus is on how things can be changed, not on the surface, but fundamentally as we move into a society of transformative transparency (I like to call it that, others prefer radical or ultimate transparency. Sterling talks about transparent production. It does not really matter as the focus is the same, a world where distance and time does not equal less information/understanding). Sterling use the more academic/older term: “ubiquitous computing” and describes the book as ” a speculation about “ubiquitous computing in the service of sustainability”.
It is “designers” that Sterling writes about, designers that make things “talk” and that allow for a new transparency. The fact that we are destroying the planet and treating people really bad should not result in an urge back to a simple society, but provide energy to create a society that can give everything value (not prize).
I was surprised to see that the book is from 2005. When reading it I got the feeling that was written mid 90:s, or earlier, but we live in a time of accelerated change and if Sterling would write the book today I think it would look quite different.
In parts it is the technology version of Bret Easton Ellis. It is fast, fun and without any clear ethical compass. It is homo ludens surrounded by high-tech, but with an understanding that how we treat the planet and each other are fundamentally wrong. Not just from a “biological” perspective, but from an esthetic. Our society are designing ugly things in the sense that we destroy beautiful things and creating irreversible damage.
When Sterling presents his response to an unsustainable society it is in the shape of the “SPIME” that “have the capacity to change the human relationship to time and material processes”. This is when the books becomes really interesting.
Much of the later part is spent to discuss the outline of a world with SPIME’s. It is nothing very concrete but a lot of inspirational snippets. I like these rough outlines as they are like a good abstract painting where your brain is starting to see patterns and thing about different applications without being “forced” in a specific direction by the writer.
In many ways the project transformative-applications is inspired by similar ideas, but with a focus on the “beyond the blur” aspect. With so much of the current economy and development investing in entertainment and the feeling of belonging/connectedness the need to support those who do something (I think these are a specific group of the “Wranglers” Sterling writes about)…
Maybe the one major thing missing in this book is a discussion about ethics, what are the underlying values that will dominate the connected economy and what are the sub-groups that will influence the development of the underlying infrastructure and direction of the connected society.
It is a short book and instead of the airport literature written by people that seem to have only one idea, read this and enjoy a book of a person that has too many for the 145 pages they are crammed into…
Please try to find a version without the layout I had. I have no idea what Lorraine Wild, who designed the book, wanted to say with this when I read the book, but it must be among the most ugly books I have read. I would have expected a person like Sterling to be a little more sensitive when it came to visual pollution. Even if her explanation (as an appendix to the book) makes the layout a bit easier to understand I got the same feeling as you get for ugly art that is done by an interesting person, it does not help…
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
Monday, 4 October 2010
00:01 GMT Monday 4 October 2010
Meeting needs the way to low carbon revolution
Mexico City, Mexico ? Business leaders convening today in Mexico City will hear that meeting needs is a better basis for a low carbon economy than a focus for improving technologies for delivering the same goods that have met the needs so far.
A report issued by the Low Carbon Leaders Project, supported by the UN Global Compact and WWF, will tell the Business for Environment (B4E) Conference in Mexico City that transformations in the way that needs are met would produce much greater emissions reductions than incremental improvements in existing technology.
"Low Carbon Leaders are the companies who understand that saving the climate depends on revolutionizing the current economy so that the needs we have can be satisfied in totally new ways," says Stefan Henningsson, Director of WWF Sweden?s climate change programme and member of the Low Carbon Leaders steering group.
"These companies don't see carbon constraints as a threat, they use it as a driver for innovation. Instead of only improving current products on the margin, the winners in the low-carbon economy focus on what service that best can meet the needs and develop solutions for that. In this way that can increase revenues while taking carbon out of the economy".
The report "Low Carbon Leaders Transformative Solutions Leadership" lists twelve examples of 'transformative low-carbon solutions' that can provide services in a new and energy efficient way. Some of these solutions have the potential to build inverse relationships between revenues and emissions.
Five of these case studies are to be outlined in detail at the conference, which is expected to go on and call on governments to produce real progress in enabling a low carbon economy at the December UN climate conference in nearby Cancun.
A typical example for a transformative change is lighting which currently - based on conventional incandescent lighting - consumes approximately 19% of all electricity production globally. By focusing on that we need, e.g. light, retailers could help accelerating a switch to efficient technologies such as Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs and LED lighting. A switch that can save 630 million tons of CO2 emissions per year globally while also avoiding wasting US$120 for each ton of CO2 not emitted. A focus on light also supports the provision of timers so that light is provided when it is needed.
Another example for providing a service that meets a need with lower climate impact is to allow people to read with lower climate impact by changing from printed matter to electronic formats such as e-books, with internet bookseller Amazon now already selling more electronic than tree-based books.
The companies gathered in B4E will call upon governments to ensure a clear progress is made within the text of the negotiations later this year in the sixteenth Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (COP16) that can accelerate the up-take of transformative solutions globally.
The B4E conference, convened by WWF, UN Environmental Programme, the Mexican government and the UN Global Compact, will also hear about an application of the new approach called "Moving the sun", using vegetables grown in areas with high solar input, such as Africa: the vegetables are grown organically without the emissions associated with fertiliser and pesticide production, consumed locally and surpluses are transported in low emission ships to fetch premium returns in retail organic markets.
Companies from different sectors are already cooperating to reduce costs and emissions in logistics. Such models of inter-sectoral co-operation can be used elsewhere to guarantee the lowest carbon emissions for a particular service provided.
"There is a tidal wave of companies, large and small, that are now doing all they can to provide society with what we need in new innovative ways that also dramatically reduce the emissions. Moving focus from companies as only a source of emissions to a situation where their potential as solutions providers is recognised would unleash the kind of innovation and collaboration that is needed", said Dennis Pamlin, Director of the Low Carbon Leaders Project.
"Today too little attention is given to the solutions that are available and how these solutions can be accelerated. As part of the project we now launch a web platform and mobile applications, and only in a few days during the preparation 40 high-quality solutions were collected. These solutions already help reduce almost eight million tonnes of CO2 and the aggregated potential for 2020 is more than a billion tonnes. I hope people will download the reports, visit the page and try the mobile applications. These show the passion and commitment among entrepreneurs around the world", Pamlin added.
The report is also likely interest to climate negotiators assembling on the same day in Tianjin, China, in the final lead-up meeting to the Cancun climate conference; it states principles and recommendations for policy makers, emphasizing the role of national and international policies to help companies make the shift to low-carbon services.
Policies for the low-carbon future to which Ministers and negotiators should pay heed include increasing research and development, agree on international action programmes to roll-out tested and proven low carbon technologies, e.g. energy plus housing, smart grid solutions, solar PV solutions, phase out fossil subsidies so that transformative solutions can compete more fairly, and tighten standards in a technology neutral fashion.
The Low Carbon Leaders Project has been developed under the umbrella of UN Global Compact "Caring for Climate" initiative in cooperation with WWF. The overview report and supporting materials including case studies can be downloaded from www.transformative-solutions.net. Facts mentioned in this release are detailed and referenced in the report and background documents available from this website. The Low Carbon Leaders Project is developed with the support of WWF, Global Compact, A.P. Moeller-Maersk, and Global Initiatives who provide the secretariat.
The B4E - Business for Environment conference http://www.b4esummit.com/ will bring together leaders from influential global corporations and key global environmental organizations on 4 and 5 October in Mexico City. They are expected to call on governments to make a success of this year?s UN climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 Nov to 10 Dec.
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Thursday, 2 September 2010
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
I found the history around the creation of the social security system was particularly interesting. Fist in terms of bringing up ideas that most people find “utopic” and “unrealistic”, but even more interestingly and something that is seldom discussed/described, how new structures were created. How different groups that did not trust each other had to create a structure in order to deliver on something they did agree on in principle is something that anyone who is interested in transformative change can learn from.
Another very interesting aspect of the book is how different ideas changed as they where picked up by different interest groups before they got such momentum that they could affect actual policy discussions. The interaction between groups, structures and ideas is described in a very interesting way. So is the non linear history where ideas can emerge, become strong and then die/go into hibernation for a long time before re-surfacing again.
Finally it is healthy to reflect on the fact that it was not long ago since people thought that poverty was a natural part of a society. Looking at the world today it is surprisingly many who seem to be willing to reintroduce the idea of poverty as a natural part of society. For those engaged in poverty reduction it might be valuable to not only look at the incremental discussions (level of aid, area of focus, etc), but also see how the underlying discourse is changing.
Maybe someone could set up a webpage that track what individuals and organizations that are talking about poverty as something that society have to live with. In a time where the natural resources are under pressure it is highly likely that some groups/companies would prefer to see poverty as something natural, rather than question their own lifestyle/business models.
On the following link Gareth is discussing some aspects of his book: Link
Sunday, 15 August 2010
But when insurance.aes256 was circulated on the web (and I like many others stored it on a few different places) and when Wired had Sergey’s search for a cure on the cover it felt like I wanted to remind people to not miss this book.
A more practical implication from reading the book: I felt a future with a one dimensional rating of people was both simplistic and not a very good idea (also from experience from the 21st Century Office application), so I decided to include more than one parameter for the rating of solutions in the new application that will be out any day… www.transformative-solutions.net…
Monday, 9 August 2010
I think Gregory is an intelligent person and I hope he get’s to write a proper book someday. When he does this it would be interesting if he put an structural and ethical filter on the idea of an “iconoclast”. To say that it is about 1. Perception 2. Fear response and 3. Social intelligence does not help very much. The ability to create something coherent would be good to add (if not any mad person is the same as a person that develop a new theory/art), to ask why the person is doing it (money, fame, fear, vision, religious conviction, etc) is also interesting to understand, etc.
Where it becomes more then just general reflections on an interesting subject is when Gregory writes about his area, neuroscience. As part of his interesting writing he (surprisingly) attaches an appendix where he spends a lot of time writing about drugs and what they can help us, or not help us with. Maybe it is too narrow for a mainstream book, but I really hope that Gregory gets an opportunity to develop his thinking on what drugs can or can not do with our brains. In such a book it will probably be healthy if he took a closer look on the pharmaceutical industry and what they are trying to do as well and what kind of people they are “creating” with the drugs they are trying to get doctors to sell.
What Donella does very well is putting focus on the right thing, she explains that we “can learn how to look for leverage points for change”, and not any change but transformative change. Her list with 12 levels of change is a great inspiration and should be used more often than it is. It is also available on wiki here.
So much of today discussion is about “Constants, parameters, numbers (such as subsidies, taxes, standards)” and very little is about the “Goal of the system” and even less about the “Mindset or paradigm that the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises out of”.
What is most rewarding with the book is the honesty and wisdom in the last chapters. The self-reflection and understanding that everything can not be calculated and planned, that what we need to “dance with the system” and that there is a need for those who dare to speak out even if they don’t always have numbers to put on their feelings. Few books have this kind of balance between being humble and still a strong call for action when it comes to the great challenges of our time.
Sunday, 8 August 2010
Techonomy a an interesting initiative/conference that seem to want to put ethics into our economy by using the inspiration/power of technology in an interesting way. Will be interesting to see where they go next, this year was a US focused event with the usual suspects, probably to ensure funding, but with a slightly more diverse invitation list and a little more focus on implementation and urgency this could be interesting.
Back to the book, where a number of quotes present some interesting thoughts by less known thinkers. De Forest, who invented the Audion/early transistor, is one example of a person who thought about the use of his technology. As all reflecting persons he felt torn as the powerful tool could be used in both good and bad ways. I particularly like his observation of mainstream media that he described in the following way: “A melancholy view of our national mental level is obtained from a survey of the moronic quality of the majority of today’s radio programs.”.
I would like to have seen a lot more discussion about the actual impact on the brain. Intuitively it make sense to assume that heavy browsing result in a situation where “certain cognitive skills are strengthened sometimes substantially… These tend to involve lower-level, or more primitive, mental functions such as hand-eye coordination, reflex response, and the processing of visual cues.”. Still is would be interesting to put these skills in a broader context and ask what kind of society this would encourage and what kind of ethics that could be enhanced.
If it is true that browsing the web is not only “diverting resources from our higher reasoning faculties but obstructing the consolidation of long-term memories and the development of schemas” people would be less able to understand more complex narratives, let alone create new. In a time where a paradigm shift is needed this is no small thing.
Add to this that our capacity for empathy might be reduced. “the more distracted we become, the less able we are to experience the subtlest, most distinctively human forms of empathy, compassion, and other emotions.”
Some serious research, supported by technology companies, would be welcome…
I have my own ideas about the possibility that the web can bring. And while I agree that the negative aspects is what we see most of today hyper/radical transparency though augmented reality can contribute to a new situation that support empathy and innovation for “real challenges”. Such a development would also move ethics and empathy to a whole new level (that is the idea/vision behind my current work with smart phone applications).
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Here is the leaflet for the initiative “Solar Solutions for the Future”. It is one of the most interesting initiatives I have worked with and think it will contribute some significant changes in the near future.
The initiative “Solar Solutions for the Future” will support all solutions that move society toward a sustainable solar-based energy system. It will highlight efforts in all major sectors and will not be limited to the industries typically included in the solar sector.
These policy and business efforts include:
- Constructing buildings powered by solar
- Manufacturing solar-powered vehicles
- Designing IT control systems for solar solutions
- Providing logistics for goods and services based on availability of solar energy
- Developing software applications that help customers understand the benefits of solar solutions
- Communicating key solar messages in marketing
Solar Solutions is not about a specific company, sector, or technology; it’s a paradigm shift. Everyone can win by supporting Solar Solutions for the Future.
Many stakeholders have expressed the need for a platform where information and best practices can be shared. Solar Solutions for the Future will use innovative digital tools to meet this need, in collaboration with stakeholders.
A 21st Century Solar Map
The 21st Century Solar Map is a Web 2.0 platform to support the accelerated uptake of solar solutions by cities and companies.
This platform will:
- Identify strategic solar solutions for the future
- Provide best practices
- Facilitate interaction among change agents
- Support innovation
- Encourage job creation
- Identify thresholds
The platform will be open to all stakeholders supporting an accelerated uptake of solar solutions.
Climate Change and energy security are two of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Reducing CO2 emissions and dependence on fossil fuels is a challenge but also an opportunity for those who can provide solutions. The cities and companies that are successful in implementing solar solutions will be winners in the 21st century.
Solar solutions present a historic opportunity to support job creation and innovation, as well as CO2 reductions and a sustainable economy. This opportunity could be leveraged by the implementation of a 21st Century Solar Map using cutting-edge web solutions.
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
In the book there are so many layers that it is hard to not to think about our limited discussion regarding the future of food today.
Food is such a fascinating subject and still it is rare to read something really interesting. Belasco manages to look at the future of food from many different angles and thereby the future of food becomes a reflection of major ethical challenges, such as equity, poverty, animal rights, the role of technology, the role of companies in society, but also the role (and limits) of traditional science.
There are so many fascinating and provoking arguments in the book that I recommend people to read this instead of next sensationalist book made for airports.
As all authors Belasco is sometime sharpening the differences and sound bites very hard to make a point, but as long as you read this as a book about ideas and not a book where one side shall be proven wrong/right this helps rather than undermines the value of the book
The fact that Belasco spend so much time discussing if speculative (science) fiction as a better predictor than methodical and “serious” research is very interesting. As he correctly reminds us the most important changes are not linear they are due to: “wild cards, unexpected twists and turns, surprise decisions.”
I like to echo Belasco’s last sentence: “Realism favors small steps, while the challenges we face may require quantum leaps. For these we may need much more romance than our ironic postmillennial era as been able to muster so far – more utopians proposing “dreams to live by,” more public intellectuals issuing impassioned wake-up calls, and more public citizens hungry to foresee and act.”
As an ebook you can read this book without having to cut down forests and ship the book in planes and lorries about the planet…
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Download the leaflet HERE (906 kb)
I look forward to lead this project (that was presented at the Global Compact Summit today) as I believe that it will help to redefine the global climate work by shifting focus from the polluters to the companies with solutions, and from incremental improvements within existing systems to transformative solutions that provide the services we need in new ways.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Old article that is still valid... Especially in relation to the work with Climate Positive and companies as solution providers.
FROM PHILANTHROPY TO CORE BUSINESS| 2007-02-23 11:07
Opening a window of opportunity
By: Dennis Pamlin
Western companies and governments are pushing the world toward a war over natural resources. At the same time rapid development in countries like China and India provides a historically unique opportunity to move the world toward real sustainability.
The world is in a situation where conflict over natural resources, especially oil, minerals and water, is moving up on the international security agenda. Measures to reduce poverty and create greater global equality have become challenges for the industrial societies. It is impossible for the whole world to live like the populations of the US, EU and Japan due to limited resources, and since no developed country has a strategy to increase resource efficiency to provide the same level of welfare to countries like India and China, this creates a precarious situation.
While great progress has been made in some areas, and technology and economic resources are available to solve many of the great challenges, there is very little happening.
Although complex, three main causes can be identified:
A Western perspective dominates.
Companies talk about sustainability, but few act.
There is a focus on simplistic problems, not opportunities.
While not difficult to solve, it requires that new players get involved and that the old generation of reactive environmentalists leave room for those who want to deliver real sustainability.
A major challenge is that there is unwillingness among westerners to realize that their societies are fundamentally unsustainable. It is not enough to reduce pollution and emissions when the total resource usage is far too high and the solution involves sending the emissions abroad.
Another concern is that environmental organizations, which are seen as the “environmental voice”, have become reactive and marginalized. They arrange their own conferences, reports and seminars, and tend to represent environmental issues in a very narrow sense. Instead of challenging and working with the groups that really influence economic development, they work with each other, convincing themselves that protected areas, wastewater treatment and recycling is what the world needs.
Many “environmentalists” are ignoring the great inequity that exists, and the economic and technological challenges that lie ahead. A serious initiative should provide welfare to those who are poor, while reducing the ecological footprint of the rich.
Most western governments have designated their environmental work as reactive, with a focus on those companies creating problems. While this is important to ensure laggards don’t fall behind, it is the proactive work of supported leaders that is needed most.
Defining end-of-pipe technologies as “environmental” is really counterproductive for three reasons. First, it doesn’t help the environment in the long term. Second, it excludes those who have real solutions, such as information and communication technology companies. Third, it communicates the wrong message regarding challenges.
It has been the view of some working in academia that the only role of companies has been to make money. However, most working people realize and acknowledge that companies have some kind of responsibility. The question is what kind of responsibility they have.
For a long time the American method of philanthropy dominated, with surplus given to “good causes.” During the 1970s and 1980s it became clear that many companies were contributing to the destruction of nature and exploiting poor people, rather than helping them. The second generation of CSR was born. This became the breeding ground for PR departments and environmental consultants who tried to engage the companies in damage control, risk management and branding. Some companies started to ask fundamental questions about their existence. Could their business model help solve the challenges humanity faces and allow people to move out of poverty? Thus the third generation of CSR was born.
The result is that some companies today are not only moving beyond current legislation, they are making changes that will allow them to keep making profits, but reduce their resource consumption while helping the poor.
Many global companies have a very reactive approach. They want to portray themselves as progressive companies, but very seldom does this translate into concrete plans. Often these companies have well-developed communication departments, but very little discussion about how to meet the future needs of societies. Interestingly enough we see signs that many companies in emerging economies look like third generation companies, while most “CSR-events” organized by western companies or governments are generation one or two. It is time to listen more to the companies from emerging economies, and separate the companies in the west that belong to the three different generations.
Not only have western companies approached sustainability issues in a reactive manner for a long time, they have also acted as if the western world was the center of the universe. With the emergence of new economic centers, such as those in India and China, this illusion is even harder to uphold.
The relationship between consumption, production and use of natural resources is becoming more complex. Hopefully this, together with limited natural resources will result in companies and governments abandoning the linear approach. Instead of running the economy with no regard to natural resource depletion, long-term sustainability, or equitable use of the planet’s resources, we need a global circular economy.
Progressive companies and governments could set up meetings between representatives from all parts of the global economy – those providing the natural
resources, those producing the goods and services, as well as those consuming them. The companies marketing and developing new products and services should be confronted with the consequences of their choices.
In order to encourage a sustainable business development, innovator zones for a circular economy should be introduced. These innovator zones could be used to explore ways that allow the rich population to enhance their welfare, but reduce their total use of natural resources, and at the same time allow the poor to boost their well-being, while only marginally increasing their use of natural resources. It is important that these innovator zones are not only set up by the companies that currently are experiencing problems, but also by those who can provide solutions, such as architects, city planners and ICT companies. Sectors that have been contributing indirectly to destructive development, such as the financial sector and PR/marketing/branding firms, need to provide new solutions in addition to reducing their destructive behavior.
Before the end of 2007, all major environmental institutions need to move away from the single-minded focus on end-of-pipe technologies. A strategy for supporting real sustainability solutions rather than incremental improvement of inherently unsustainable systems should be developed. All major economic player – major companies, export agencies, members of industry, and organizations promoting innovation – should explore how they can support real sustainable solutions. Leading companies in major western countries should set concrete targets and develop business models for a global circular economy. Leading CEO’s should act together on a global level with those responsible for major investments. Companies and countries should disclose how much they invest in reactive environmental protection compared to proactive solutions. Triangular dialogues are necessary between key players in various geographical areas such as Africa, China and the EU.
Artikeln även publicerad i Sustainability Sweden, 2006
Thursday, 13 May 2010
The report: "Low Carbon Telecommunications Solutions in China: Current Reductions and Future Potential"
1. For the first time (to my knowledge) a company has made a full assessment of its positive contributions to society through the services it’s providing (in this case everything from smart logistics and teleworking to e-readers and smart lighting) and compared this with its negative emissions through its own operation and value chain (Scope 1-3).
Beijing, China. A joint China Mobile and WWF study has shown the huge potential low carbon telecom solutions have to reduce carbon emissions, with savings from Chinese telecom solutions in 2008 estimated at being similar to the total CO2 emissions of countries like Sweden, Denmark or Finland.
Low Carbon Telecommunications Solutions in China: Current Reductions and Future Potential, which was presented today at the Telecommunications Sector Conference for Energy Efficiency and Emission Reduction in Beijing was carried out by the Service Management Science Research Institute of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.
It estimates direct CO2 emissions savings from low carbon telecom solutions provided by China Mobile in 2008 at 48.5 million tonnes or just over six times the company’s own emissions. For 2009, the savings were 58.2 million tonnes, almost six and a half times company emissions.
“It is important to pay attention to the companies that deliver the solutions society needs, and not only focus on those that are big emitters,” said Dermot O’Gorman, the Country Representative of WWF China. “We want to support China and Chinese companies to take the lead in a solution approach that can deliver results not just in China, but globally.”
The estimates were based on detailed analysis of direct savings from 14 low carbon information communication technologies (ICTs) offered by China Mobile which were categorised into smart logistics (like matching truck journeys to load needs), dematerialisation (saving paper and other materials), smart work (reducing commuting and travel needs) and smart appliances (remotely monitored and controlled for energy savings).
The estimates are also conservative, disregarding the potential for indirect savings. For instance, while the energy implications from savings in paper from putting newspapers, sales brochures and invoicing online are calculated, no account is taken of the reduced needs for transport, storage and waste disposal or the knock-on infrastructure implications of such reductions.
“We are happy to present this joint report with WWF that clearly demonstrates the important role of the mobile telecom sector in helping China to move towards a low carbon economy,” said Jianzhou Wang, the President of China Mobile Communications Corporation.
“Many of our solutions are transformative and help people get better service with dramatically reduced emissions.”
The largest single current savings in carbon emissions lay in reducing commuting through teleworking, which could save an estimated 340 million tonnes of CO2 emissions China-wide in 2020. However, the savings from virtual meetings will increase at a much greater rate to an estimated 623 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030 when such meetings reduce the demand for commercial aviation by nearly 40 per cent.
The potential savings from smart logistics, dematerialization, smart work (including smart meeting and smart commuting) as a whole in 2010 is 399 million tons, 615 million tons in 2020 and 1298 million tons in 2030.
“This would be a significant contribution to the global greenhouse gas emission reductions and an important contribution to China’s target to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 40 to 45% by the year 2020,” said Yanli Hou, the Director of Climate Change and Energy Programme of WWF China.
“With the already existing savings and the great potential we look forward to continuing to explore the opportunities for China Mobile to contribute to a low carbon society,” said Guangze Qin, the Director of Working Group of Green Action Plan of China Mobile Communications Corporation.
The report recommends the recognition of the contribution of low carbon ICT solutions in China’s next five year plan, along with targets for the emissions reductions to be delivered.
“The government should stipulate emissions limits for certain services to support innovation and heighten the sense of industrial discipline in order to increase the incentive to use low carbon ICT solutions,” said Mr. Qin.