I had the pleasure of speaking at The Green Alley Awards in Berlin as patron and judge about climate change and about going circular. Here is my talk:
Entrepreneurs get it
I am the entrepreneur in residence for Sustainable Nation where I have the pleasure to work with lots of very interesting eco-entrepreneurs. The startups are not the problem. They get it.
SMEs don’t seem to get it
The problem is the existing small and medium-sized companies. Particularly in Ireland. They don’t get it. The Irish government does not get it. So I do a lot of work with Irish accountancy bodies to explain why it is very important that we take note. Not only as an existential threat for all of us, but as a 90 trillion business opportunity.
I read and write books for a living. I think in books. Hence the book flower above. I use that to talk to accountants. To show that I am not making it up. That some very clever people saying that sustainability is important.
Climate change is a hot topic
What is interesting, from a business book perspective, is that particularly in the last few year, business thinkers are starting to talk about climate change as a key issue for business survival. It was not a topic three years ago.
I am not going to talk about all of those publications. I will be happy to share my book which covers most of them. Go to https://www.ronimmink.com/product/climate-change/ and use “SusNat17” as the code and you will get it for free.
Trying to convert Irish SMEs
Convincing Irish businesses and their accountants is really hard and unlike companies in Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany, the Mittelstand in Ireland is very far behind. Which is why I start to talk about exponential, triple bottom line, supplier pressure, 90 trillion and natural capital as part of their future cost base.
Natural capital cost
“The Big Pivot” was ahead of its time and starts to ask what would happen if we would take the cost of natural capital into consideration when we price our products or services. Apparently, it would add 48 trillion to our cost base. Making most companies loss-making. I thought that would get their attention. It doesn’t.
I try the heartstrings. Ask if they have children. I explain the horrendous effects climate change is going to have if we get over two degrees. Our kids will not have a future. I always use Waterworld (Kevin Costner) or Mad Max (the first one with Mel Gibson) as the mental images. No effect.
Only very recently I came across “No ordinary disruption”. “No ordinary disruption” takes a hard statistical perspective. Accountants like that. Our current ecological footprint is 1.5 times what the planet can provide. Which means that we are running out of things such as copper, zinc and other commodities. We are running out of sand. We are also running out of water. Material prices for everything are shooting up. There is in lies the reason why businesses will have to circular. If not, they will run out of supply. Circular is the only way to secure supply lines in the future. I think that should convince accountants.
Circular is the future
I spoke in Zagreb recently. That is the message. The innovation focus in the future will have to be on going circular.
Three exponential curves
There is a very good book, titled “Bold“, written by Peter Diamandis. He is part of the Singularity University. They believe that man and machine will merge, that immortality is near and the exponential will solve the problems of the world.
The curves need to meet before we get to two degrees
At the moment three exponential lines are going up, one is climate, the other is technology, and the third is circular. They need to meet before we get to two degrees. And I think we will.
With or without accountants.