More Net-Zero Prosperity

In your opinion, how could a net zero future allow for a more prosperous world, and can this prosperity be shared across society?

By innovation towards net-zero, we are, more or less automatically, innovating for a better world along other aspect. For example, to reduce emissions from metal, higher recycling rates are one of the most efficient ways. At the same time, this recycling is decreasing mining activities and by that protecting endangered species, decreasing unhealthy working conditions, limiting the poisoning of freshwater resources and much more.

What new business or professional opportunities could a net zero future hold for you? In your discussion, you are encouraged to think beyond the examples mentioned in previous activities.

As a consultant I am looking forward to the professional opportunities of a net-zero future. Decoupling revenue from material in- and output is, in my view, one of the biggest tasks of the net-zero future and ultimately required to save growth and prosperity while staying within the planetary boundaries, growing better instead of bigger. The example of @Daniel Damme  for such a new business model is wonderful. Instead of buying fossil resources to make a revenue with it, offering a service to dispose of food waste and refining it to sell as biofuel.

-By Esra Korff from Germany

For prosperity to be shared across the world then countries and individual businesses need to take responsibility and assist across the whole supply and services chain.  For decades many countries have taken advantage of ‘poorer’ countries to produce products and provide services at a lower price without considering the environmental and social impact it has.  If this is addressed with transparent reporting and part of a business reduction plan is to also work with suppliers than the benefits can be shared.  Without assistance, we are in selfish ‘not on my doorstep’ culture, and huge areas of GHG reporting and reducing will be ignored.  This will result in the dilution of internal successes individual businesses achieve, with outcome of global failure to reach needed targets.

By- Carole O’Brien from UK

As everyone has commented above, there are so many opportunities for improvement of our world through the transition to a net zero economy. For me, the concept that has resonated most is the idea around building circular economies. For several years, at an individual/family level, I have personally been trying to reduce waste, recycle as much as we can, compost all our vegetable waste, sell or give away clothes and furniture we no longer need, etc. But I still see so much waste in our society. The idea of doing this at a community/society level is such a simple concept that needs relatively little investment but promises so much. I was at a climate conference last week where Barry Irvin spoke about what he is championing in his company and community in southern NSW – great example to follow.  

Bega Cheese chairman Barry Irvin on building a circular economy and his son’s autism (afr.com)

-By Kevin Powell from Australia

My business, which is concentrated in the delivery of telecoms services, our main blockers to transitioning to net zero are our legacy infrastructure and cost.

Balancing the removal of old and uptake of new, in terms of cost is the one that, at the moment could make or break the business.

For example, replacing our installation and maintenance fleet with electric vehicles is not just the matter of investment in the new tech. We have to consider the removal of our legacy fleet.

Who’s responsibility is that in terms of cost to the environment once it is no longer owned by us?

What can the government do to encourage this transition? Not just by incentivising purchasing of EV’s and EV infrastructure but also to help with the cost of total removal of the old fleet and not just passing the problem on to someone else?

I would be really interested to learn about start-up companies who will be using new tech to strip down and re-cycle old vehicles and delivering recycled materials for the production of the new vehicles and other products. And there is no reason why this could not form a much bigger solution for the wider society.

-By Dan Coulson from UK

Indeed is interesting as we constantly struggle with legacy network hardware. Once the replacement is done, no one wants the old stuff and sadly after several searches, it ends up in e-waste (hopefully). Only if organizations had systems in place with their manufacturers/suppliers that for every new piece of new tech and old can be redeployed or recycled appropriately via the accurate process. 

-By Sunil Talwar from Hong Kong

In my opinion, as we move towards net zero future, this will drive a lot of awareness and consciousness for every big and small decisions we take in professional and personal life – we will be able see the impact of these decisions, e.g. positive effect of reusing, recycling – less spending, less clutter, less environmental damage and positive impact of such decisions in professional life e.g. high returns from investment in a low carbon cement company, which has taken off in the net zero world and has replaced the demand for traditional product.

I work in M&A advisory covering hard to abate sectors and believe the path towards net zero is going to create tremendous opportunities engaging with clients on this transition, discussing organic and inorganic investment ideas as well as financing the large capex needs to bring these projects into reality   

-By Srishti Tulsyan from UK

In my opinion, a net zero future will definitely bring prosperity, but this prosperity needs to reflect directly on people all around the world, not only in some countries. Since the net zero future has to be a global effort, it will be paramount for people to engage in a deep change of mind, and to do so, they need to believe in the benefits that the emissions reduction will bring to their everyday life: better health, access to cleaner water, more efficient infrastructure (energy, transport, services), in general, improving their quality of life. This will require strong cooperation and support between the countries.

About new professional and business opportunities, as a consultant I think innovation will be the key. The transition will require change and improvement in every sector and every traditional process. Innovation in technology, operation, investments, services, waste management, etc will be needed, as well as new methods to monitor the emissions reductions achieved that allow the companies and governments to make decisions in order to reach and maintain net zero. 

-By Amanda Pena Garcia from Mexico City, Mexico

Amanda, agreed. And there is a no shortage of innovation in all sectors. My issue at the moment is two fold:

  1. The reluctance of large and medium sized businesses to recognise, invest and use these innovations.
  2. The flooding of the market with innovation on a wider scale dilutes the uptake and makes picking the right model very difficult.

Personally I think that similar industries need to partner innovation or even breed it to creat ownership and a better response.

-By Dan Coulson from UK

Dan, what you comment is so true… from my personal experience, companies are afraid of innovation, they feel much more safer with traditional approaches, “ the way they have always done things” . And this is a real challenge, it is difficult but possible, to let them see the benefits they can get. When they start to see improvement, they also feel secure and little by little start raising the capex for efficiency projects. But it is also very important for consultants, advisors, etc to be always close and make follow up on the results, that also helps to build confidence.

-By Amanda Pena Garcia from Mexico