Have commodities and mining reached bottom?

With the slowdown in China’s economy (the world’s biggest consumer of raw materials) the recent boom in commodities and mining companies has turned into “the worst commodities rout in two decades”. Glencore, a mining and commodity trading company with 2014 revenues of $221bn has just had its debt downgraded by Standard & Poor to one […]

Food production shocks ‘will happen more often because of extreme weather’

A new report forecasts that shocks to food production (reductions of 5%-7%) will be three times more likely by 2040, because of increases in extreme weather brought about by climate change. As a result, the position of people in developing countries will be “almost untenable” position, with the USA and UK “very much exposed” to […]

Water shortages looming

“We’re going to run out of water long before we run out of oil,” says Peter Brabeck, chairman of Nestlé. In the first instalment of a series on the threat of water scarcity, the Financial Times describes the impact on companies. “We have a water crisis because we make wrong water-management decisions. Climate change will further affect […]

Bad news, good news…

Two stories here, one describing the problem, one addressing part of the solution. First, a new study by Nasa shows yet again that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades, just as many previous empires and civilisations have done. Echoing Jared Diamond (TED talk here, synopsis here) they find the key factors driving the risk of […]

KPMG: “Ten sustainability megaforces”

In February this year, KPMG published a report identifying ten “sustainability megaforces that will affect every business over the next two decades.” They have identified ten good drivers of change. They just seem to have missed a trick when it comes to showing how these issues will have serious consequences for business leaders. Even inclusion of the […]

Two ways to adapt to post-oil

Yesterday’s story about how the IMF foresees a doubling in the real price of oil by 2022, and the consequent urgent need to adapt or redesign our business models, might have raised a few eyebrows. So here are two stories about how adaptation to life with less oil can proceed quite straightforwardly… and in fact […]

Top issues in the global ‘water sector’

In January this year Deloitte published a short but seemingly comprehensive overview of the key upcoming issues in the global water sector. Although 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, the report is focused on the “less than 0.5 per cent of the world’s water [that] is available for human and […]

Big Picture — December 2011

When the managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, issues warnings like this: “There is no economy in the world, whether low-income countries, emerging markets, middle-income countries or super-advanced economies that will be immune to the crisis that we see not only unfolding but escalating.” [Source] it is time to take stock of where we are […]

Renewable energy investment finally passes fossil fuels

The amount of investment in renewable energy has passed that in fossil fuels for the first time. Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass drew $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg. Source, LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-renewables-20111125,0,2421278.story This related story has a nice graphic […]