Enterprise leader

What can I do as an enterprise leader to stop the global warming? As a leader of your enterprise you have an important role in stopping the global warming. The necessary transition may affect the product design and portfolios, strategies, business opportunities and responsibilities of companies. This may be a difficult process, but companies that are early adopters to this new situation may find new opportunities and be winners.

You are probably already addressing some of these issues. But we need to speed up the transition. Since the usage of fossil fuels are deeply integrated into all sectors of our society, many different areas need to be addressed simultaneously. This action list suggests where attention is needed to make this happen in a coordinated way with citizens, policy makers and city mayors. Don’t hesitate – take a lead in this and you’ll be on the winning side!

  • Make sure the heating/cooling/electricity used at your premises is fossil free (why? how?)
  • Avoid fossil driven transportation (why? how?)
  • Use primarily local suppliers (why? how?)
  • Ensure your employees have organic and vegetarian lunch alternatives (why? how?)
  • Minimize the “fossil content” in the products and services your company offer (why? how?)
  • Find values for your company beyond the traditional growth value, supporting and being supported by a sustainable and stable society (why? how?)
  • Apply ideas from circular economy on your product life cycles (why? how?)
  • Produce quality that lasts longer, support an infrastructure for repairs and maintenance (why? how?)
  • Look for a certification of the fossil free level your company have reached (why? how?)
  • Invest in green tech, divest from fossil fuel technology (why? how?)
  • Engage the company in environmental issues (why? how?)
  • Support political leaders that support you with the above (why? how?)

When all of us are moving in the same direction, the climate and the future of our kids will be saved in a surprisingly short time. Start working on the check list, engage your staff, find out more, and share with colleagues. We are all in this together. You find some more background and links for further reading here.

“It always seems impossible until it is done.”
                                    -Nelson Mandela

It's about the future of our children and their childrenIt’s about my future heart

“Earth is not a gift from our forefathers,
but a legacy to our children.”
                                    -Ancient Indian proverb

Why?

  • Focusing exclusively on growth is not a viable alternative in a post-fossil sustainable society. Find new values that will support such a sustainable society and your company will be richly rewarded. A company needs a stable society to be successful. The sooner you act, the better you’ll find your direction in the new society.

How?

  • Seek advise and discuss with people from different disciplines and different backgrounds
  • Focus on producing quality products with a longer life expectancy and easy to repair characteristics (reduces the total resource and energy consumption)
  • Establish an organization for spare-parts and repair (there will be good market opportunities in this area)
  • Value your employees on all levels. Their different perspectives can help innovate and find new ways for the future direction of the company.
  • Take care of your employees. Humans are not machines and does usually not perform optimal when highly structured processes and hard efficiency requirements are put on them. Make them feel good and you can benefit from their true potential.
  • Study the concept of circular economy and try to apply it on the activities of your company.
  • Study and engage in the climate and environment issues. This will give you a better understanding of what is happening including the magnitude and severity of the changes.

Why?

  • This may seem as less important, but if you want a perception of your company as a company taking its environmental responsibilities, this is where to start. This both help your employees to do their part meeting the climate threat and it signals that you take this seriously. That will make it easier for you to mobilize your organization for the new climate challenges.

How?

  • Make sure any company canteens use suppliers of organic food
  • Arrange re-cycling the compost waste to local farmers
  • Ensure the lunch menus have rich vegetarian alternatives
  • Seek competitive prices for the organic/vegetarian alternatives
  • If restaurants in the neighborhood are used, discuss and make similar agreements with them
  • If the company offers lunch subsidies, consider higher subsidies for organic/vegetarian plates
  • Inform your personnel what arrangements have been made and motivate people to use those alternatives

Why?

  • Investing in green technologies, i.e. technologies building a fossil free sustainable society, is a winning strategy. New untested technology may of course have higher risk, but also higher opportunities. To keep or make new investments in companies having fossil fuels as a base must on the other side be considered as a high risk investment. As people with their increasing concern for the climate are divesting from these companies, the assets of these companies will loose their values. New governmental regulations to come and ongoing remodeling of cities will speed up this transition.

How?

  • If your company is an capital investment company – for your customers who want to secure long term investments – invest in wind and solar energy projects. This energy is basically infinite and “for free” and our society will need a magnitude more of these energies. It is therefore reasonable to assume this can be good long term investment. For your customers who are willing to take higher risks, invest in other green techs e.g. advanced battery technologies, fuel cell technologies, efficient cooling, heating, lighting, efficient process industries, new internet technologies that can make our society more energiefficient, fossil free transportation technics, bio gas (methane) production technology, bio gas driven agriculture and construction machines, etc.
  • If your company is an oil company – shift your investments to wind and solar energies and energy storage/buffering (e.g. as hydrogen). These energy sources are basically infinite. They are our future. Therefore there will be good business opportunities in these sectors. Staying in oil, coal, natural gas, tar sands sectors will give an increasingly bad perception and cause various problems for your company including new taxes to compensate for the costs of the global warming. The assets may also loose their value as 80% of them will not be possible to be explored within the 2 degrees global warming target.
  • If your company produces electricity – invest in wind, solar and other fossil free energies. Avoid investing in new nuclear energy since the total lifecycle costs have in reality proved to be much higher than any calculations. Nuclear companies can be expected to be forced to take the full close-down costs for future nuclear plants.

Why?

  • Transportation stands for one third of the greenhouse gases triggering the global warming. Today there are alternatives for fossil free transportation and new alternatives are coming.
  • The more you reduce the embodied fossil content in your products and services, where transportation is one part, the better perception your company will have on the market. It will also simplify meeting new governmental regulations, and reaching better levels on related certifications of your company.

How?

  • Use the alternatives for fossil free transportation that are available.
  • Discuss any additional needs with your transportation suppliers.
  • Select suppliers that use fossil free transportation for your goods and services
  • Prioritize local suppliers to reduce the total energy your company use for transportation
  • Start replacing the car fleet your company has with electrical cars
  • Provide charging possibilities at your employees car parking
  • Minimize business trips by air. Try videoconferencing, conference calls, email discussions, chat or other internet based tools. Use train or high speed train when possible.

Why?

  • Heating and cooling of buildings is one of the main contributors of the greenhouse gases triggering the global warming.
  • Some companies use large quantities of electric power. If that electricity is generated from fossil fueled power plants these companies are main contributors to the global warming.
  • The heating, cooling and electricity that is used at your company’s premises does also make up a part of the embodied fossil content in your products and services. Therefore making sure the heating/cooling/electricity is based on fossil free energy is an important step for you and your company. This will facilitate meeting new regulations and related environmental certifications for your company. It also gives good public relations.

How?

  • Make agreement with your supplier of electricity, heating, cooling etc that you get a supply based on fossil free energy sources.
  • Reduce the energy requirements (and costs), e.g. by investing in better insulation of your premises, adjusting the temperature, etc.
  • Select the most efficient and quality equipment when it is time to replace the old heating/cooling equipment.
  • Consider making direct investments in wind and solar energy projects. This can secure a long term source of clean energy. In addition it gives good perception of the company and a clear message that it is supporting a sustainable society.

Why?

  • Today most transports of goods and raw materials are dependent on fossil driven transportation. In a fossil free world it is reasonable to assume that energy will not be so abundant that most products and raw materials can be transported globally before they reach us. Some products would still need a global market, for example very specialized electronics and unique materials. But the major part of the products we need are better produced more locally to reduce the total need for transports and facilitate a fossil free transportation infrastructure.
  • A global supply chain is also more vulnerable to more frequent extreme weather conditions hitting remote locations. Changing the balance to depend more on a local supply chain and less on a global supply chain will reduce any climate triggered production problems. Remember that also civil unrest in different parts of the world may be triggered by climate problems – a warmer climate and failing crops is likely to result in higher food prices and more starving people. A growing number of hungry people often results in unrest and social instability.

How?

  • Make it a priority to increase the usage of local supply chains.
  • Check how dependent your suppliers are of a global supply chain. Their vulnerabilities will affect your business.
  • If your company is mainly offering services or experiences that has a low profile of energy consumption, especially fossil fuels, congratulations! You are probably on a winning track!

Why?

  • Producing quality and products with longer life expectancy contributes directly to reduce the total energy used on transportation, production and energy raw materials. A doubled product lifetime basically halves the total used energy and materials. That is, less products to manufacture and transport. Some reduction of the global usage of energy and raw materials facilitates the transition to renewable energy sources and leaves raw materials for future generations that hopefully will live here on Earth too.
  • A good infrastructure for repairs and maintenance increases the value of the products your company offers. In addition this may be a good business. Mature industry sectors like car manufacturing teaches us that there is often more money in selling spare parts and services than in the actual product itself.
  • Don’t fall for the temptation to offer bad quality products but an excellent repair and maintenance service. Buyers will see through that and turn you down. That kind of information spreads quickly on the internet today.
  • Producing products will longer life expectancy does not necessarily mean a hit on the sales for your company. The growing awareness of what is required to save us from a climate catastrophe will favor companies offering quality products and services.

How?

  • Work on increasing product quality and the expected lifetime of the products you offer.
  • Establish an infrastructure for repairs, maintenance and spare parts for your products.
  • Consider offering spare parts using a online web-shop.

Why?

  • Circular economy is a framework to optimize how materials are reused at the end of the product lifecycle. This can save production costs as well as give your company a better perception of applying sustainable production methods. Many companies are engaged in circular economy. Find out more here.

How?

  • Spend time to study the ideas behind circular economy
  • Engage speakers or consultants to help you apply circular economy in your company
  • Contact other companies who are already applying the circular economy methods

Why?

  • Your customers will be looking for companies with the smallest usage of fossil fuels, or products and services with a minimum “embodied fossil fuel content”.

How?

  • Find a independent third party certification company with recognized reputation
  • Make your own assessment of your products’ fossil content. Check both the direct usage fossil fuels in your own company and the indirect usage at the suppliers you use. The total sum divided by the number of products and services you deliver will be what customers are looking for. That is, the “embodied fossil content” of a product or service.
  • Make a re-certification periodically or when you believe there has been a substantial change

Why?

  • As always you will easier get where you want if regulation, taxes, subsidies and other policies are supporting your direction. All of us who have understood that we need to take this fossil free direction, should vote, talk to, encourage and in other ways support the political leaders taking us there.

How?

  • Put your vote on the candidates that can take us to a fossil free society in the best way.
  • Communicate with your candidates and elected leaders, express your opinions, needs and concerns. Ask them in what ways they can support you. Convince them to be more radical if necessary.
  • Use other channels you have to influence your leaders

Why?

  • Engaging in the environmental issues will help you understanding the underlying reasons and mechanisms better. This will help you to form more appropriate policies for your company.
  • You yourself, your family and friends will be affected by the changing climate as anyone else. Extreme weather hits everyone. You probably also want your kids, grandkids and their siblings to be able to live their lives without rising sea levels, starvation and civil unrest that scientists now agree will come if we continue on a business as usual track.
  • As the public is becoming more and more aware of the climate problems and are favoring companies that are taking the environmental issues seriously, it is becoming increasingly more important that your company is perceived as supporting necessary changes to stop further global warming. And the best way to be perceived that way, is to act that way.

How?

  • Put your company on the right track from the environment perspective. See the activities, contacts and opportunities this creates as an investment and marketing. It will enhance the perception of your company as taking the climate threat seriously. This is becoming a key factor for competition.
  • Do the certification of the fossil free level of your company. Make sure the result is published on appropriate sites on the Internet.

Varför?

  • To achieve a society independent of fossil fuels, all sectors need to be addressed – materials, manufacturing, transports, services, etc. The key performance index important to be able to steer towards a fossil free society is how much “fossil fuel content” the products and services of your company have. That is, how much fossil fuels your company spent during manufacturing, heating/cooling of premises, transports, distribution, etc. In addition the fossil fuel content of suppliers and contractors are added. This key performance index of the “fossil content” in products/services is what needs to be minimized. When the transition to a fossil free energy system is finished, the “fossil content” in products and services will of course be zero.

Hur?

  • Work with the internal processes and premises to minimize the use of fossil fuels.
  • Work with suppliers and contractors. Put the “fossil content” as a key parameter in the purchase process.
  • Estimate the KPI for “fossil content” per product/service. Publish on the company web site. Update the KPI regularly as the work progresses.
  • Perform a certification of the fossil free level of your company. Use the independent assessment in marketing activities.

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