Would you believe it… as soon as the school summer holidays are almost over, the chance of a break starts to recede and the weather here turns glorious. It does seem like there has been a break in the weather, although with flooding in Spain, and parts of the USA, it is not all sunshine for sure.
Unfortunately, it is becoming undeniable, from first-hand experience, that there is something up with the climate. As we sit there in our air-conditioned soon-to-be heated offices, accessing data centres on the other side of the world, the question needs to be… what exactly do we do about it.
There are obviously plenty of grand gestures we can make… let’s stop all flying, no driving to the office, turn off the heating, go vegetarian, install solar panels, heat pumps, shop local, or even cancelling streaming services and not using Google or AI.
These are, of course, all good ideas. Maybe you have done some of these or maybe not. However, what all of these do have in common is consequences. Consequences for you, your lifestyle or your firm.
And, if you are in competition with others, especially if they are without these constraints, the fear is you will be put at a significant disadvantage.
Whilst going out of business, for good reasons, may feel righteous, it may also in fact make things worse. Think of the impact if all your work was picked up by a competitor who just ignored these impacts…. life would go on and be just as polluting as ever… yet continuing to do nothing also seems unsustainable. Clearly we need to be more efficient, cost effective and significantly reduce our environmental impact.
So what do we do? Mulling on it over this weekend, I wondered if there was an MI angle.
In reality, it is really quite hard to measure your actual total environmental impact and the consequences of the different choices we make.
What is the total environmental cost of that amazon delivery vs driving to the store to buy it? What is the total impact of buying a new electric car, including its manufacture, vs keeping your old gas guzzler on the road (hint changing to EV is environmentally better)… and where do you invest first and what has the shortest payback or most impact per $ spent.
If you are in the environmental accounting field maybe this is easy, for most of us on the outside these are all outstanding questions. Whilst you can take courses in environmental economics and accounting, for the layman this all quickly gets complicated.
Yet just like in finance and operations by having standard and consistent measures it could make a huge difference. It would allow better decision making, the setting of carbon reduction goals and indeed allowing for process reengineering through techniques such as the patero effect or marginal gains (which although seemingly slightly contradictory, both of which I am a fan).
In the end, as the saying goes, you get what you measure and in this case it seems we are just not measuring enough…
So maybe we need to account for CO2 like money and publish it on our invoices too.
It would certainly allow us to make better choices.. and rollup the total impact for consumers…
It is something I have been looking at and watching the waves roll in on the latest typhoons, hurricanes and flooding, it is likely something we will all have to think about in the near future too… #one to watch #beyondESG
Have a good week everyone.