COVID Crossroads – What Happens to Business After Lockdown?

Blue skies, audible birdsong and cleaner waterways may only be a temporary feature which will reverse after lockdown. We are already getting used to seeing more cars on the roads again. Worryingly, people are reticent to go on public transport and the Government briefings are encouraging people to avoid busses and trains, in favour of cars.

The  carbon emission reductions  It’s true that we have experienced reductions in carbon emissions during lockdown. The disturbing fact is, however, even if maintained, these are not enough to reverse our current path towards irreversible climate change.

Transactional Changes

Right now, many of us are working from home. The technologies to do this have been available for considerable time. However, the pandemic has been the impetus for people to modify behaviours, use video conferencing and travel to work less. Whilst these changes are unquestionably positive, they are only a part of the jigsaw. On their own, even if maintained, these new habits will only dent our need to reduce carbon usage.

Transformational Changes

We will only resolve the climate crisis by combining these new behaviours with affirmative structural improvements which address our environmental issues and long term sustainability.  Now is the ideal time to tap into the mood of humankind. Billions of people across the planet have demonstrated that collective resolve can be cultivated in response to adversity. Let’s ride the tide and nurture this backhanded opportunity society has been presented by the virus.

Zero Carbon

Active participation is needed to create a new zero carbon society. There may be a collective will to see progress towards addressing our carbon emissions. However, there’s a risk that if policy makers don’t take affirmative action by pro-actively investing in green recovery, this one-time opportunity will be lost . The political drive towards environmentally sound infrastructure and technologies is an essential next step.

Mission Possible

Mankind has demonstrated that individually, nationally and even globally, we can change behaviours rapidly given an immediate crisis. This impetus must be harnessed to propel us into meaningful longer term behaviour change to overcome the climate emergency. Sadly,  media attention on the problem has put on a back-burner (literally, as well as metaphorically.)

With lockdown, people have re-learnt to appreciate our natural world, enjoying cleaner air, spending time exercising outdoors and benefitting from the ecosystem services provided by the world around us. As a result, many are acknowledging the value of green space and a healthy environment to their well-being. This new normal comes alongside a less complicated lifestyle which focuses on family rather than consumption.

The Crossroads

We are at an existential crossroads as societies emerge from lockdown. That means we can choose to ‘catch up’ on those lost trips to the shops, flights to far off places, and step back on the old treadmill of stressful life. Alternatively, we can embrace the opportunity this crisis has presented to us, by maintaining and improving our world through affirmative actions and beneficial behaviours.

The underlying problem is that we need both a healthy economy and a healthy environment for humanity to be successful. Yet, despite much evidence to the contrary, the perception that these are mutually exclusive persists. The technologies and the outcomes exist demonstrating time and again that being green in business increases profit.

There are moves towards redeveloping economies with a push towards GI (Green Infrastructure) coming from many industry groups. These consortia are lobbying government to incentivise green jobs and to avoid supporting the fossil fuel sector or those industries heavily reliant on emitting carbon.

What About YOUR Organisation?

It’s time to ask yourself a directorial question at this unexpected, unplanned juncture in our business activities.  Will you stay in the detrimental days of fossil fuel burning and wasting precious limited resources or, do you want to be part of a new net-zero, resource aware, environmentally sound circular future?  If your answer is that you want to change, contact me for a conversation about how to get started with a Coral Mountain Sustainability Programme.


#buildbackbetter #missionpossible #afterlockdown

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