Power for Scotland: Zero carbon

2010 has seen – at least in the first half of the year – a fair bit of pessimism on climate change action, particularly government policy. But, with the US National Academy of Science saying warming is a settled fact, many governments have continued to act regardless of slow progress on a global agreement.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond is a good example. He says green energy is a pivotal turning point in human history. Scotland has committed to 80% green electricity by 2020 and reportedly 100% by 2025. Technologies include offshore wind and the world’s largest tidal turbine.

The Scotland’s overall emissions cut target is 42% by 2020. Recent research finds a 40% European wide cut is achievable by 2020. And the payoffs are substantial with HSBC estimating a global low carbon economic opportunity of up to USD 2.7 trillion by 2020.

Image: Visit Scotland

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Your sustainability business case

Most people agree a business case for sustainability is critical. However, the initial findings from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan Management Review 2010 sustainability survey finds nearly half of its responders have not yet developed one. But they are spending money on it anyway.

The full report is set to be release in January 2011. Check here for details. Early results include finding:

  • Forty-seven percent of those who are substantially outperforming their peers have developed a business case for sustainability.
  • Among lower performing companies, only thirty percent have developed a business case for sustainability.
  • Fifty percent of North American companies have yet to try to develop a business case for sustainability efforts, compared to thirty percent in the Asia-Pacific region.

At the same time potential profits are substantial. Just one example – GE has announced an expected nearly $0.5 billion of revenue in 3 years catalysed by buying (not selling) clean technology electric cars.

All of which leaves open questions. What’s holding other companies back?

A clear business case needs more than the profit numbers. For effective leading sustainability change its about managing the visible objective measured change as well as viewpoints, values and cultural world-views that sit beneath this – the invisible drivers. In other words, a sustainability case that is right for the organisation.

Google to Shweeb: Clean Transit

Want to fly above traffic propelled by your own legs? That’s the inspiration for Schweeb (pictured) inspired from Tokyo.

It may sound a little unlikely but Google has invested $1 million in the project. The Schweeb is one of 5 winners, out of 150,000 ideas of Google’s, 10 to the power of a 100 project.

10^100 is a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible.