John Elkington has been at the forefront of environmental research, advocacy and writing since the 70’s. He launched a consulting company called SustainAbility, long before the term had become the buzzword that it is today. He’s a writer, a speaker, and a provocateur.
A lot of his work has been in corporate sustainability, helping companies adapt and innovate amid environmental and social change.
Plus, he written a new book, it’s called Green Swans. It riffs on the concept of Black Swans, popularized by Nassim Taleb. But instead of representing unexpected catastrophic events, Green Swans represent an opportunity, for positive change.
In this episode, we discussed:
• The seismic shifts occurring in 2020, and the prospects for the decade to be one of huge change, “The exponential decade”.
• Why incumbent industries resist change, even when they can foresee their own demise.
• The importance of government to legislate for clean-energy.
• And the sad reality that government’s may need to pay big dollars to keep fossil fuels in the ground (akin to how the slave-trade was ended).
• Change comes from the edge of systems, disruptors aren’t going to be found in big-multi-national companies.
• Is the human brain capable of dealing with a challenge like climate change? Or should we use artificial intelligence to take-over where we have failed?
• John’s early years, and how he quit economics to pursue environmental management.
• His work in corporate sustainability, and his role as ‘the grit in the oyster’, to drive change in organisations, where there are incentives to stick with the status-quo.
• The power of science-fiction to predict the future. And the rise of Chinese sci-fi as the most prescient looking-glass.
Enjoy, and be sure to let me know your thoughts over at www.johntreadgold.com