That leads us straight into the next point. The benefits of eco-efficiency are quite self-explanatory and straight forward. Transparency is a big area of emphasis in sustainability but the metrics are difficult to develop. What are the big trends that might become more relevant in the next few years and what would you like to see happen to make that progress? AW: We are going to see much more emphasis on data and metrics and that’s just true across business. This is the era of big data as they say and that’s going to continue no doubt. I think we’re going to see more focus on the supply chain, on the value chain as a whole, but also in particular supply chain pressures and efforts to measure and reduce the footprint on the supply chain. I think we will also see continued concern on resources and commodities and price of inputs. That’s part of the reason the supply chain is such a focus. We will also see over the next few years rising concern over water as well as rising concern and acceptance of climate change as a massive problem. The debate going on in this country on climate change is surreal and will subdue as the evidence becomes more real. There will always be people denying it but it’s just getting more and more ridiculous to deny it at this point with the changing weather. And it is getting more different at a quicker rate. This is something that companies are just going to have to deal with and they are being asked to measure and disclose risks of things like climate change. I guess what I hope for is that the pace of change towards renewable energy and a clean economy will continue. I think that’s developing very quickly and capital is gathering very quickly and I hope that continues. I hope that people around the world will continue to support the growth of renewable technologies through smart regulations and subsidies.
Q6 PENN SUSTAINABILITY REVIEW
There are many industry terms used such as “resilient” and “future-proof,” can we actually ever predict the future and be totally “sustainable”? Is the end goal to be 100% sustainable or simply to be less unsustainable and more aware of the way we are consuming the earth’s natural resources? AW: The idea of what is fully sustainable is a weird one. It’s not the same as saying zero impact - I don’t think anybody thinks there is such a thing. It comes back to some of the core theories and frameworks that were developed such as natural step that says there are some boundaries to the world and we have to live within them. I don’t think we have an option – we have to figure out a way to have an economy that the impacts that we have are basically recoverable and we can come back from those and we can fix the things that do cause impact. It will be about closing loops and having a circular economy: having a cradle-to-cradle as a technical cycle and a biological cycle. We are going to have to do that. I mean it is the only way for us to sustain and support a decent quality life for the 9 billion people. That sounds like there is big world of limits and there is. But the one thing that is unlimited is renewable energy. There is basically infinite sun coming in, more than we could ever use. That means that we have one part of this equation in a closed system that we can keep increasing in input. So it doesn’t mean just restricting everything, it means we should be moving to technologies and inputs that are limitless. And I kind of see that as our only path. We don’t have any other way.