A Sliding Doors Moment

A Sliding Doors Moment

A Sliding Doors Moment

Hello everyone,

It’s been a while! The SW team is back after a much-needed break over the summer and we’re re-charged and ready to go. Just as well given the recently published IPCC report, which made for very sobering reading. We and everyone working in the climate and sustainability space will need all of our energy, expertise and determination to make this year the year the world finally responds with appropriate urgency to the ‘code red’ warning issued by scientists. It feels like a sliding doors moment, where we will look back several decades from now and see whether we followed the right or wrong trajectory.

As consultants and advisers, we find ourselves in the privileged position of influencing the trajectory that our clients follow, through the sustainability strategies and roadmaps we develop with them. During the summer we were reflecting on the sense of responsibility this brings. We want to ensure we are offering the best possible advice, that we’re being challenging yet encouraging, and that we’re conveying the urgent need for radical change while being cognisant of commercial realities.

It’s a delicate line to tread and one that we regularly reflect on and talk about within the team. This excellent article by Ed Gillespie led to our latest round of discussions. It’s well worth a read for any consultant working in this space and raises important questions that we should all ask ourselves as we do our work. The bottom line is that we must make sure we’re not complicit in facilitating business-as-usual when what the world needs, within this decade, is a total re-set.

Quote of the Month

Our August Top 5

  • Climate-readiness of EU Businesses: the EIB Investment Survey, which looked at European firms and climate change, painted a disappointing picture of Irish firms’ perception of and action on climate. We may be on the journey, but clearly there’s still a long way to go (EIB report)
  • The world needs better carbon pledges: excellent piece from Jonathan Foley of Project Drawdown critiquing the concept of net-zero carbon targets and calling for a new ‘Emissions 360’ climate pledge framework (Drawdown.org)
  • The war for ESG talent: It’s a good time to be an ESG professional. A very, very good time.” This insightful article by Joel Makower looks at the boom in demand for ESG and sustainability professionals, discussing the challenges for recruiters and sharing tips for candidates (Greenbiz)
  • Ikea launches buy-back service in Ireland: in case you missed it back in June, Ikea officially launched its take back service in Ireland, offering between 30 – 50% of the original price of an item, depending on its condition (RTE news)
  • Handy climate glossary: this useful glossary from Albert – the UK organisation promoting sustainability across the film and tv industries – explains the terminology and acronyms around climate change in easy to understand language (Albert)

Post the IPCC Report: What Do We Do Now?

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, published in August, was a difficult and distressing read. A huge number of articles were written in reaction to it. Here are just a few that we liked because of the practical advice they offered on actions that can be taken now:

Client Spotlight: Bord Bia

Earlier this year SW partnered with futures agency Futavista and market research agencies Empathy and Opinions on a Global Sustainability Outlook Study for Bord Bia. Our role was to talk to Irish and international thought leaders to understand the current and future sustainability trends for the agri-food sector. Our findings, together with the results from the customer and consumer research, informed the development of Bord Bia’s newly launched Global Sustainability Insights portal. Check it out here.


Move Nights Sorted

We recently heard about this amazing resource – WaterBear.com – described as ‘the first interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet.’ Through it, you can get free access to lots of award-winning, inspirational films and documentaries that tell stories about important issues like climate action, diversity, sustainable agriculture and more. Some of the films we’ve previously recommended, such as ‘Kiss the Ground’ and ‘Purple Mountains’ are on there, as is a series called ‘The Breakdown’ which is supposed to be excellent. That’s movie nights sorted for the next while then. Enjoy!

Circular Economy News

Two deadlines for exciting CE programmes that you need to be aware of:

Circuleire, the Irish National Platform for Circular Manufacturing, has a New Venture Programme that’s open for applications until the 10th September 2021. The programme supports circular economy start-ups and businesses to scale and develop their solutions to help drive Ireland’s transition to net-zero carbon. SW’s Aideen O’Hora is one of the mentors on the programme, so you’ll be in great hands! Full details here.

EIT Climate KIC – a new pan-European accelerator, with a focus on circular economy, coordinated locally by Trinity, is also now open for applicants. This accelerator programme is for advanced team start-ups working on innovative solutions. You’ll get financial support as well as know-how and coaching, mentoring and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The deadline for applications is 12thSeptember 2021.Full details here.


What We’re Listening To

In July, SW’s Karen Deignan was a guest on An Taisce’s Climate Ambassador podcast, hosted by Gary Tyrell. She was joined by Dave Dodd from the Dublin Climate Action Regional Office and they discussed future opportunities around climate mitigation and adaptation, and the trends for businesses and local authorities.

As regular readers of SW news will know, we are fans of economist Kate Raworth’s theory of Doughnut Economics. This podcast from John Richardson and the Futurenauts features Kate talking about her work. There’s plenty of lively chat and banter to make a serious topic really engaging.

Sustainability Jobs

  • Sustainability Marketing Executive – Guaranteed Irish
  • Sustainability Programme Manager – EirGrid Group
  • Sustainability Director – Ornua
  • Sustainable Finance & Investment Director – Grant Thornton
  • Senior Sustainability Program Manager –  Amazon Web Services
  • Global Procurement Sustainability Manager – Carbon Scope 3 –  Diageo 
  • Global Procurement Sustainability Manager – Regenerative Agriculture – Diageo
  • Global Procurement Sustainability Manager – Governance, Integration & Partnerships –  Diageo