PLANETARY LIMITS AND SOCIAL THRESHOLDS: WE ARE PROUD TO JOIN THE COUNTDOWN COMMUNITY – ARE YOU?


10.10.20 sees TED launch its Countdown movement, a global initiative to champion and acceleration solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. This gathering will serve as inspiration and a call to action to the world’s changemakers — and to people everywhere — to step up and participate in building a better future [1]. The goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 in the race to a zero-carbon world – a world that is safer, cleaner and fairer for everyone.

So, what does this mean for businesses? This initiative aims to build a zero-carbon economy, whilst creating good jobs, ensuring clean air and increasing resilience to future systemic shocks like climate change [2].

We are excited that the TED Countdown community supports our collective mission to remain within planetary limits and social thresholds in order to safeguard humanity as we know it.

What are planetary limits and social thresholds?

They outline a safe operating space as the optimal place for humanity, where we do not deplete the Earth’s resources, whilst uplifting social parts of society, such as access to education, healthcare, and water.

In 2009 Johan Rockström and a group of scientists from the Stockholm Resilience Centre identified nine planetary life support systems essential for human survival which, if crossed, could result in severe, abrupt and possibly irreversible environmental change [3]. A few years later Kate Raworth (Oxfam) combined the nine planetary boundaries with twelve social thresholds, which set out quantifiable basic needs for all people [4]. The resultant ‘Doughnut’ model sets out the environmental boundaries which we must not cross and the basic social thresholds which we must strive to ensure every person reaches

These limits and thresholds informed the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals.

Article 13 help businesses to operate and thrive within the Doughnut’s safe operating space.

Today four planetary limits are already overshot, and zero social thresholds are met globally. And we only have 10 years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our most recent research has taken Doughnut thinking one step further by examining what the world’s largest 240 companies are doing to remain within the safe operating space.

We found that 85% of corporate sustainability targets reviewed are not focusing on what the world needs.

So how can businesses remain within the planetary limits and social thresholds? Try these questions:

1. Have you assessed the potential risks, associated with all our planet’s limits and social thresholds, to your business?

2. Are you measuring and reporting your performance in the context of global and local challenges and situations?

3. Are you measuring the consequences of your business – across your value chain – and how they impact multiple planetary limits and social thresholds?

4. Are you measuring relative and absolute impact (both in terms of your performance and also your impact on available capitals)?

5. Have you set long-term targets to ensure we stay within the safe zone of planetary limits and social thresholds?

If the answer to any of these is no, Article 13 can help you identify, measure and manage your impact using Doughnut thinking.

Get in touch if you are inspired by the TED Countdown movement to make your business thrive within the planetary limits and social thresholds https://www.article13.com/contact. You can also see a snapshot of our research findings here https://www.article13.com/copy-of-research.

To join the TED Countdown and become part of the community of changemakers committed to creating a better future click here https://countdown.ted.com/ #JoinTheCountDown

References

[1] https://countdown.ted.com/

[2] https://countdown.ted.com/get-involved/at-work

[3] https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/planetary-boundaries/planetary-boundaries/about-the-research/the-nine-planetary-boundaries.html

[4] https://www.kateraworth.com/doughnut/

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