Achieving Sustainable Growth: Policy Frameworks and Business Responses

This article was originally posted on the South American Business Forum blog on August 8th, 2013 by Jesica Klein. For the original article, look here. It is reproduced below. 

IMG_0667The third plenary session was in charge of Eban Goodstein. He is Director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, which grants M.S. Degrees in Environmental Policy and Climate Science and Policy, and also Directs Bard’s new MBA in Sustainability, based in New York City.

In his speech, Mr. Goodstein pointed out how our planet is suffering from different natural catastrophes all around it.

From his own life story he showed how things changed over the last 50 years in terms of perception about the global warming.  Greenhouse effect was proved in 80’ and 10 years later CO2 pollution was already doubled.

He pointed out that we went from 310 CO2 PPM in 1980 and 3 Billion people to 400 pp Co2, 7 billion people in 2013. This situation is getting worse and the question we should ask ourselves is “where are we gonna be in 2043?” Carbon pollution ser to end era of stable climate. How do we get to stabilizing carbon pollution? “The Path to 2 Degrees C”.

Goodstein showed that we can actually save money by reducing emissions, and that we have the technology to achieve it. Leadership and will is what it is needed.

What’s sustainable growth means? Fulfill our needs today without compromising the needs of future generations.

Moreover, Eban underlined how the power of policy is being used for Fighting hunger and building a food economy in Brazil.

He answered the question “What do we have to do to be sustainable?”: “Transform our commercial system to mimic our natural system. In natural systems there is no pollution, no energy crisis, no systems, financial or otherwise, it’s simply too big to fail!”. But how do we get there? How do we get our political and economical system into the concept of sustainability? “We need to move on from the fossil fuel economy, into a sustainable one“.

Another important question is how do we get companies to align with this concept of Sustainable Business. The participation of the political sector is essential. Leadership must head in that direction. Politicians will be the ones making rules, but entrepreneurs and business leaders are the ones that will be dealing with them.

Ecovative is an example of what Eban means by Sustainable Business. They investigate electronic devices, that if not would be in our planet for the next 10000 years.

He concluded with a message for the participants: “Don’t wait to be 30 to change the world because it won’t longer be possibly, or because it is easier not to”.

Mr. Goodstein suggests that there are two possible future scenarios but that we don’t know which one will come. Nevertheless he trusts this generation to have the capacity and intelligence to guide the planet towards the correct one.

About Emily Krohn, Bard MBA Graduate Admissions Assistant