Just Do It

Just Do It

Just Do It

Typically, at the start of a new year, our thoughts turn to the future. We resolve to make positive changes – to exercise more, work less, eat better.

We all know, from personal experience, that change is hard and that there are key ingredients for success. The first is clarity on the case for change – why we urgently need to do it, the risks if we don’t and the benefits if we do. The second is practical guidance on how to make the change and what to do differently, as well as the resources to implement. The third and by far the trickiest ingredient is willpower – the intrinsic motivation to put in the hard graft and keep going, even when it’s tough.

Creating a sustainable world is the ultimate ‘change challenge’ facing our generation. As we start 2021 the why is crystal clear. It’s summed up brilliantly by two of our features this month – a video by Johan Rockström of the Potsdam Institute and an article by McKinsey & Co. Much of the how and what is also known – net zero pathways, nature based solutions, regenerative agriculture (see our movie recommendation), the EU Green taxonomy, to name but a few.

Fortunately, the collective will for change is also growing stronger by the day. Businesses and investors are increasingly on board, governments are gearing up for bold policy action, and a recent poll showed that citizens are right behind them. Everyone recognises the urgency and the opportunity, as this open letter to US President Joe Biden shows.

So….the case is clear. The solutions are known. All that’s left …to steal a line from Nike…is to just do it.


Our January Top 5

  • WEF Global Risk Report: The World Economic Forum publish this report annually and it sets the stage for the year ahead. Infectious disease ranks as the no.1 risk this year in terms of impact, with climate change no. 2 and biodiversity loss no. 4 (weforum.org)
  • One planet pledge: In mid-Jan a coalition of more than 50 countries, including Ireland, committed to protect almost a third of the planet by 2030 to halt the destruction of the natural world. A couple of weeks later, HRH The Prince of Wales launched Terra Carta, a recovery plan that puts Nature, People and Planet at the heart of global value creation (guardian.com)
  • Climate intrapreneurs in banks: This is an interesting one for all you bankers out there! Insights from the front lines of bank climate action (financeinnovationlab.org)
  • Green Michelin Star: Three restaurants in Galway became the first in Ireland to be awarded a Michelin ‘Green Star’ for their efforts in promoting and supporting sustainable practices (rte.ie)
  • Football and climate justice: Dublin-based football club Bohemiams has recently appointed a climate justice officer. It’s great to see this happen because sport has huge potential to engage people in positive climate action (irishtimes.com)

Quote of the Month


10 Years To Transform Our Future

In this 7 minute video, Prof. Johan Rockström from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research sets out the case for change clearly and unequivocally and conveys what this decade means for all of us. We know that you, our readers, don’t need convincing. But every so often we all need something to help reinvigorate our resolve to give it everything we’ve got. This video certainly did the job for the SW team and roused us from our lockdown lethargy!

Understanding the 1.5 Degree Challenge

This excellent article from McKinsey presents the 5 critical shifts needed to achieve a 1.5 degree world and outlines what it would take for these shifts to happen. There are great graphics and interesting facts and stats. Definitely worth a read.


Helping Businesses Reach Net Zero

We hear of more and more large businesses setting targets to be net zero. But as a business, what do you actually need to do to achieve it? This guide from CISL, which is aimed at leading companies at the forefront of the net zero debate, sets out a framework and makes a compelling case for following it.

Sustainability Support for SMEs

Through our EPA-funded research project, Climate R/O, we want to help Irish businesses understand the climate risks and opportunities that will impact them on a practical level. How will more extreme weather create disruptions to operations or supply chains? How will greater scrutiny from banks on climate risk affect business’s ability to borrow money?

We’re running four free online sector workshops during February and March. They’re open to large and small businesses as well as trade bodies, banks, investors and policymakers who engage with these sectors and who want to understand more about climate adaptation and business. Click on the links below to register:

Computer & Electronics Manufacturing: Tues 18th Feb, 2.00 – 3.30pm
Retail: Tues 23rd Feb, 2.00 – 3.30pm
Hospitality & Tourism: Weds 24th Feb, 2.00 – 3.30pm
Food and Beverage Manufacturing: Tues 2nd March, 2.00 – 3.30pm

What We’re Listening To

This Greenbiz 350 podcast with Heather Clancy and Joel Makower sets the scene for 2021. They discuss all the things that traditionally happen during the last week of January to coincide with the World Economic Forum’s conference in Davos, Switzerland, including the publication of Blackrock CEO Larry Fink’s annual letter.


What We’re Watching

Kiss the Ground on Netflix is a brilliant, powerful and motivating film about what could be the solution to achieving a sustainable global food system – regenerative agriculture. At its heart are healthy soils, which sequester huge amounts of carbon while simultaneously producing our food. If the world farmed in this way, the film argues, farming would actually take more carbon out of the atmosphere than it emits and farmers would be viewed as climate heroes. How great would that be? Watch and be inspired.

Sustainability Jobs