Are we going to #BuildBackBetter? Looks promising from here…
I looked at my diary this morning and swallowed. A packed week of meetings, client workshops and deadlines, requiring some smart planning, a lot of caffeine and maybe a bit of luck to pull off. But I’m also thanking my lucky stars – when the Covid19 pandemic hit, I girded my loins for a tough year ahead and started planning what I would do with all the free time I would have to keep the business ticking over, but those ideas have been shunted firmly onto the back burner while I deliver on a project load the like of which I haven’t seen since before the 2008 financial crash.
It was the painful experience of that financial crash that made me pessimistic. In the aftermath I found the hardest element was not finding prospects, but persuading them to let go of the side of the pool and start swimming forwards. Despite all the talk of building a Sustainable economy from the wreckage of the old, the fear of being seen to spend money on consultants put projects into the Escheresque limbo of ‘it will have to be in the next quarter/New Year/next financial year’ postponements. People knew that Sustainability was important (or they wouldn’t have wasted so much of both our time), but it wasn’t that important.
So if it was tough then, why so different now? From what clients, project participants and potential clients tell me, I believe we are much further along the seesaw towards the Sustainability tipping point than we were 12 years ago. To take one measure, as I type the carbon intensity of the UK electricity is about 124gCO2/kWh, less than a quarter of what it was in 2008. That didn’t happen by the waft of a magic wand – it represents a massive amount of investment, capital and revenue, from the brown economy into the green, and it just keeps coming. It seems like, rather than a nice-to-have, businesses are seeing Sustainability as a must-have or, increasingly, a business strategy in itself.
OK, this is a judgement call, rather than a empirical analysis and it could just be a lucky blip. But my gut instinct, honed over 20 years of trying to deliver on green economy, is that this time it might just happen!