Submitted by Schneider Electric
On August 22, Earth Overshoot Day comes more than three weeks later than last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced humanity’s activities to slow down abruptly. As public health challenges and the economic recovery have been surging as top concerns around the world, Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, and Global Footprint Network have combined efforts to spur and fuel a strategic conversation on generating long-term business success.
Their joint e-book “Strategies for One-Planet Prosperity” presents the framework for companies to remain relevant in a world increasingly shaped by climate change and resource constraints: improving humanity’s well-being within the means of our planet (“one-planet prosperity”). As the e-book explains, this dual strategy is becoming necessary for companies to build their long-term competitive advantage. The choice is between planning ahead to support human needs for well-being and resource security, thus enhancing their chance to become economically successful and resilient, or keeping with business-as-usual and becoming irrelevant.
“With the necessary economic recovery on everybody’s mind, the time has come for entrepreneurs and industry leaders to recognize that delivering products and services that enhance humanity’s ability to succeed is not about doing good, but doing what’s necessary for their business,” says Mathis Wackernagel, the founder and president of Global Footprint Network
The one-planet prosperity framework was launched last year by Schneider Electric and Global Footprint Network. This year, the partners teamed up to illustrate how companies whose products and services support humanity’s long-term success -- contributing to move the date of Earth Overshoot Day -- are better positioned to remain relevant in the long-term.
Research by these two organizations indicates, for example, that if 100 percent of the existing buildings and industry infrastructure around the world were equipped with readily available energy efficiency and renewable energy technology from Schneider Electric and its partners (assuming no shift in human habits), the date of Earth Overshoot Day could move back by at least 21 days. This means that energy retrofits alone could make a difference of three weeks. For added perspective, if we move Earth Overshoot Day back by five days every year, we will be back to one-planet compatibility before 2050, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. The e-book also features other examples of companies, in various sectors of the economy, whose business model supports one-planet prosperity.
Earth Overshoot Day 2020 is pushed back, but for the wrong reasons
On Earth Overshoot Day, humanity will have used all the natural resources that Earth can replenish in the entire year -- including the capacity of natural ecosystems to absorb carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning. This significantly later date, compared to last year, reflects a reduction of the global Ecological Footprint by almost ten percent between January 1st and Earth Overshoot Day. According to research by Global Footprint Network, this reduction was largely caused by travel and construction slowdown due to COVID-19 induced lockdowns around the world. Carbon emissions dropped 14.5 percent and forest products harvest went down by eight percent.
The drop in resource consumption observed in 2020 was sudden and unexpected. Because it was imposed, it is bound to be temporary. Humanity continues to demand as much from nature as if we lived on 1.6 Earths.
“Together we can move from the COVID-19 crisis forced onto us to a future that is resilient and workable for all, by design. One key ingredient is to shift the sustainability conversation from noble to fundamentally necessary. This can help unleash the groundswell for one-planet prosperity, the most viable strategy we know of. It surely beats one-planet misery,” says Olivier Blum, Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer of Schneider Electric.
Schneider Electric and Global Footprint Network’s e-book urges decision-makers to pause and ask themselves the most relevant strategic question going forward: Does my business support the long-term success of humanity? Pause, and ask themselves the most relevant strategic question going forward: Does my business support the long-term success of humanity?
About Global Footprint Network
Global Footprint Network, who pioneered the Ecological Footprint accounting, is an international sustainability organization that is helping the world live within the Earth’s means and respond to climate change. Since 2003 we’ve engaged with more than 50 countries, 30 cities, and 70 global partners to deliver scientific insights that have driven high-impact policy and investment decisions. Together, we’re creating a future where all of us can thrive within the limits of our one planet.
About Schneider Electric
At Schneider, we believe access to energy and digital is a basic human right. We empower all to make the most of their energy and resources, ensuring Life Is On everywhere, for everyone, at every moment.
We provide energy and automation digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability. We combine world-leading energy technologies, real-time automation, software and services into integrated solutions for Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries.
We are committed to unleash the infinite possibilities of an open, global, innovative community that is passionate about our Meaningful Purpose, Inclusive and Empowered values.
Schneider Electric is a European multinational company providing energy and automation digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability.
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