Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists


No, all is NOT Lost!

Monday 27 February 2017

It's been a significantly busy couple of months looking at how Industries and Government Agencies are preparing for change. The Companies versus Climate Change conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in November/December, and a meeting with the Political Science Department at the University of Hawaii (Manoa) in January show that positive action is happening, despite some of the headlines

In fact some of the companies tackling climate change and the investment they are making seems to indicate that despite some of the doom and gloom, the overwhelming push by organisations is towards action addressing climate risks. Ingersoll Rand; Bacardi; Sealed Air; Alaska Airlines and even United Airlines are some of the many doing BIG things.

For some, they're arguably starting off a low base and therefore able to show big improvements quickly. Others continue along the path that has been happening for quite some time. TD Bank of Canada are doing some great things, sadly offset by their continued support of less helpful social policies (more on that at a later time). A recent article in The Age discussed the awakening by some Australian companies in bringing climate related risks onto their books. Of course the Insurance Industry in Australia has been well on the front foot for over a decade, prompted by the hailstorm damage across NSW at that time.

At the University of Hawaii, issues over continued relevance and impact of a foresight program and ability to influence policy settings for major players is of concern. UoH has relied to an extent on the brilliant work of the now retired Jim Dator for a long time. With a new program director developing its offerings it faces a #PostDator model. I'm confident it will step up to the mark and continue its excellent outreach. The need for Foresight and Industry and Government responses to climate related shifts is sharpening by the week.

The short take away from Florida is that Local Governments in Australia seem to be well advanced of their counterparts in the US, when it comes to addressing social issues and climate challenges. But the corporate sector in the US had identified 'Profits!' as a core opportunity in the climate space. Australian companies seem to me, to be a long way back. Which is interesting given the obvious needs, risks and potential. Arguably the success of Australia's Big Four banks has hamstrung Australia's ability to act decisively - they fund more carbon intensive fossil fuels at a rate of about 4 to one for renewables.

A long time ago then Westpac's Phillip Cronica suggested the only reason you'd do something to address climate issues would be for its reputational value. Here's hoping the Big Four banks matire their intellectual capacity soon. In the meantime for Local Governments, consider two emerging factors as the biggest you'll face in coming years - Shelter and Shade. Those at the @LGPro session I delivered in Melbourne know what I mean and why. If you weren't there, trust me, Shelter and Shade, Shelter and Shade

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