Environment

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    Habit and hassle: psychological barriers to sustainable behaviour

Habit and hassle: psychological barriers to sustainable behaviour

Last year, Delft University of Technology  – the university where I work – launched a mobility programme. The goal was threefold: (1) fewer cars on campus, (2) a CO2 neutral campus by 2030, and (3) dealing more smartly with space scarcity. The relevance of such a programme is clear: around 27,000 people travel to our campus every day and […]

July 16th, 2020|Environment|1 Comment|

How to address sustainability risk in a dangerous universe

While our galaxy is full of planets that could harbour life, there is no evidence that any of them besides our own actually do. This observation suggests that the universe is a dangerous place and that we may be facing civilisational risks that could, in a worst case outcome, result in extinction. Sustainability policy (broadly conceived) deals with these […]

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    How partnerships help small businesses adapt to climate change

How partnerships help small businesses adapt to climate change

Micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries often face major barriers within their business environment to adapting to the impacts of climate change. These barriers include a lack of access to finance, markets, insurance, climate-smart inputs and services, and knowledge about adaptation options.

Many of these barriers can be overcome through the activities, products and services of other […]

June 18th, 2020|Environment|0 Comments|

Green finance: investors need transparency

The effects of climate change have become increasingly palpable for the general public in recent years, with wildfires having destroyed large parts of the Amazon rainforest and the Australian bush, killing more than a billion animals. The attention on the topic, including the need to reverse the inexorable decline in biodiversity and promote sustainable livestock production, has been heightened […]

Climate change, Covid-19, and our existential challenge

Covid-19 is the most significant economic, social, and public health issue of the present time, posing unprecedented challenges to economic policymakers. While the pandemic has caused havoc in the world economy, with major losses of human life, it is also reshaping our view towards the environment. The virus has thrown a spanner in the works of the global economy […]

Carbon taxes alone won’t stop climate change

Climate change has shifted from a fringe issue to a worldwide emergency. Our understanding of the phenomena and our willingness to act have developed significantly, in part paralleling the ways in which climate change is being experienced around the globe.

Carbon pricing policy tools (both fiscal taxes and market permits) have been promoted as the core policy tools in mitigating […]

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    The Covid crisis will delay but not derail the energy transition

The Covid crisis will delay but not derail the energy transition

The world is grappling with an unprecedented health crisis that has triggered the worst economic recession of the century. Be it manufacturing, supply chain, exports or project execution, the entire business ecosystem experienced a sudden collapse. Energy demand, which is directly linked to economic activity, also contracted. But not surprisingly, the great lockdown had a more dramatic impact on […]

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    Covid and climate – building a strong and sustainable recovery

Covid and climate – building a strong and sustainable recovery

The UK and the world have been transformed by the Covid crisis. Beyond its tragic human costs and loss of life, the pandemic and the necessary lockdowns have resulted in a sharp contraction of aggregate demand, supply disruptions, loss of revenues for many service sector businesses and unprecedented increases in unemployment.

The demand, output and employment impacts are expected to […]

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    Why we can’t go back to ‘normal’: 5 appeals for a sustainable post-pandemic economy

Why we can’t go back to ‘normal’: 5 appeals for a sustainable post-pandemic economy

All over the world, calls for strategies to return to a normal life after the Covid-19 crisis are emerging. Due to the severe economic cuts and the terrifying losses of lives and livelihoods, ideas to transform the economic system towards sustainability run the danger of becoming drowned by those voices pressing for a fast return to the pre-crisis economy. […]

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    The growth of environmental, social and corporate governance in investing

The growth of environmental, social and corporate governance in investing

The wealth management industry is continuously changing. As we have seen over the last few years, active management is falling out of fashion and has become less ‘fashionable’ with asset allocators every year this millennium. In the last decade since the global financial crisis, we have seen the relentless expansion of the passive management industry and a consumer base […]

February 26th, 2020|Environment, Finance|0 Comments|

Putting sustainable finance into practice

Ensuring that their investment portfolio contribute to the long-term sustainability of the planet is one of the key challenges organisations face today. That means adopting prudent financing and a thoughtful investment strategy. But how can financial sector players go about doing that? Sustainable finance raises a lot of practical questions. Many initiatives have been launched to provide businesses with […]

How consumers perceive sustainable products

When tire producers started launching recycled tires, truck drivers were sceptical. They didn’t trust the quality and assumed that there had to be a trade-off with the durability and effectiveness of the tires. Similarly, when there is a flu epidemic or pipes are clogged, consumers systematically choose the non-sustainable hand disinfectants and drain openers. Consumers are afraid that the […]

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    Employees: the missing link between stakeholder capitalism’s pledges and metrics

Employees: the missing link between stakeholder capitalism’s pledges and metrics

On the eve of the World Economic Forum’s 50th annual meeting in Davos, I wrote about the need for well-intentioned corporations seeking to lead a new era of stakeholder capitalism to convincingly separate themselves from the also-ran. By the end of the week in Davos, I was pleased to see businesses race against each other to forcefully signal their […]

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    How the bystander effect can explain inaction towards global warming

How the bystander effect can explain inaction towards global warming

Not too long ago, I was preparing a lecture about group dynamics for my students at Delft University of Technology. One of the dynamics I wanted to introduce was the bystander effect. The bystander effect refers to the phenomenon that an individual’s likelihood of offering help in a critical situation decreases when passive bystanders are present (e.g., Darley & […]

January 7th, 2020|Environment|2 Comments|
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    Individual investment advice is key for sustainable investment behaviour

Individual investment advice is key for sustainable investment behaviour

Given the global environmental and societal challenges of the 21st century, the concept of sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the financial markets. It seems necessary to involve private individuals in the transition to a sustainable economy. However, investment preferences are very heterogeneous, so that investment products customised to “averaged” preferences often fail to achieve the goal of promoting […]

December 18th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|
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    Good management improves productivity, but it may worsen environmental performance

Good management improves productivity, but it may worsen environmental performance

The reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is an increasingly important policy objective for many governments, both in developed and developing economies. This is reflected, among other things, in the emergence of energy efficiency as a high-priority topic on the policy agenda.

In manufacturing – one of the key sectors from the point of view of GHG emissions and energy […]

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    To meet its ambitious ‘net zero’ target, the UK will need to ramp up climate change policies

To meet its ambitious ‘net zero’ target, the UK will need to ramp up climate change policies

UK greenhouse gas emissions are declining and have been declining for some time. The UK has a framework of long-run targets developed by the Committee on Climate Change, an independent body of experts advising government. Despite this, things are far from well when it comes to climate change in the UK and there are concerns about the country’s ability […]

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    How to change the paradigm in finance to incorporate a changing environment

How to change the paradigm in finance to incorporate a changing environment

Climate change poses existential threats to global prosperity, but political and economic systems are unprepared for responding to that risk. Governance, incentives and thinking are still misaligned. The financial and corporate sectors could play an important role in turning the tide by truly managing for long-term value creation, i.e. by managing for positive financial, social and environmental returns in […]

December 2nd, 2019|Environment, Finance|0 Comments|
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    The trade-offs between labour productivity and decarbonisation

The trade-offs between labour productivity and decarbonisation

In a recent paper, we show how decarbonisation in industrial plants interacts with efficiency-driven initiatives regarding flow management, waste reduction and workforce commitment, which represent three key fields in which high-performance shop floors strive. Inventory turnover reflects our measure for improvements in flow. The ratio of the total manufacturing cost to the cost of materials indicates how efficiently firms carry […]

November 26th, 2019|Environment, Management|0 Comments|

The role of international climate finance initiatives

Financial institutions have a critical role in stepping up the actions against climate change.  In Article 2 of the Paris Agreement, nations agree to scale up finance flows consistently, opening a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. Consequently, ‘climate finance’ will continue to remain central to the climate change agenda. The recent United Nations Climate Action […]

November 18th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|