Sustainability, Consistency & Leadership
I’ve long preached that big ‘L’ Leadership is the difference between those at the cutting edge of Sustainability and the rest. And one of the biggest elements of leadership is consistency and/or constancy – that people can see you sticking to your guns through thick and thin.
Listening to Prime Minister’s Questions this week, UK premier Theresa May clearly didn’t see the contradiction between bigging up the opportunities for zero emission vehicles and lambasting those who voted against Heathrow Airport expansion. Her Government’s ‘no’ to the Swansea tidal barrage project didn’t come up at PMQs, but that was another contradictory decision in recent days.
The UK is doing very well at decarbonising its power sector, but as this week’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) report pointed out, on other important issues such as transport, thermal efficiency of buildings and land use, it is lagging behind.
The problem with the country’s current political leadership is all too common: one success gets run up the flagpole every time Sustainability comes up, distracting from everything else where progress is pedestrian at best. Given the fantastic decarbonisation of the power sector, the term ‘greenwash’ may be a wee bit harsh, but it’s not far off the way power is quoted over and over again.
As the CCC notes, the framework is there, but the policy detail is missing – and the impact of that vacuum is evident in the big opportunities that have just been missed. We desperately need that true leadership.