In a world devoid of hunger, war, climate change and ecological degradation, Gubra would not need a corporate responsibility policy, at least not a very comprehensive one. Unfortunately, we do not live in a world of affluence and ecological harmony. On the contrary, we are constantly reminded that our current way of life is highly unsustainable. And even though climate change, pollution and depletion of natural resources have been on the political and corporate agenda for decades, many of the grand challenges that humanity is facing remain unsolved. Some of these problems have even deteriorated. In the newly published Global Sustainable Development Report 2019, a group of independent scientists evaluating the progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) concluded:
Trends on climate (SDG 13) and biodiversity (SDG 14 and SDG 15) are alarming. On average, countries obtain their worst scores on SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land). No country obtains a “green rating” (synonym of SDG achieved) on SDG 14 (Life Below Water). Trends on greenhouse gas emissions and, even more so, on threatened species are moving in the wrong direction (Sachs et al., 2019).
We are using the ecological capacity of 1.7 Earths
Another way of describing our current unsustainable way of life is by referencing the Ecological Footprint, which represents the Earth’s ability to absorb our greenhouse gas emissions and to regenerate the resources that we consume. According to the most recent data, our consumption and production patterns indicate that we are currently using the ecological capacity of 1.7 Earths (Lin et al., 2017).
If we do not change our way of life, including the way we do business, we are going to pass down a planet to future generations that is in much worse shape than the one we inherited from our forefathers. That would not just be an example of serious neglect on our part, but perhaps the worst case of generational theft and ignorance in the history of mankind. While we at Gubra cannot solve the grand challenges the world is facing by ourselves, we want to be part of the solution and we have an ethical obligation to act. For more examples of humanity’s unsustainable lifestyle, click here.
D. Lin, L. Hanscom, J. Martindill, M. Borucke, L. Cohen, A. Galli, E. Lazarus, G. Zokai, K. Iha, D. Eaton, M. Wackernagel. 2017. Working Guidebook to the National Footprint Accounts. Oakland: Global Footprint Network.
Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).