Oliver Greenfield Interview-The Green Economy Coalition
20 February 2013 | News story
We pose several questions to Oliver Greenfield, Convener for the Green Economy Coalition.
The Green Economy Coalition is a unique global alliance tackling an urgent agenda. It is made up of different constituencies (labour, environment, development, UN, business). Despite their differences they have come together because they recognise that the current economic order is failing these constituencies – from global workers, poor and marginalised groups and local communities, businesses for the long term, and the rich diversity of life on our planet. Members have proved they can work together, advance the debate and influence the corridors of power. The GRC works to create prosperity for all within planetary limits. IUCN was one of the coalition’s founding partners.
What are the benefits of investing in Natural Capital and a Green Economy?
In the words of the international trade unions – “there are no jobs on a dead planet.” Governments, citizens, and businesses around the world are starting to recognise that the natural world is the foundation of society’s prosperity. From cleaner cities for people, to reliable supplies of resources for business, to more stable, prosperous economies, the benefits of green economy are increasingly being quantified. .
• Goods and services that forests and freshwater systems, to coral reefs and soils provide can represent close to 90% of the GDP of the poor *
• Investing 2% of GDP in green economy could create up to 9.6 million new jobs per year +.
However, the benefits go beyond numeric quantification. We believe civilisation is defined by how we look after each other and the natural world we share with all life.
What role do you think that Business has is incorporating Natural Capital into their operations?
In 2011 PUMA, a world leading sports-wear company, produced a set of environmental profit and loss accounts focused on greenhouse gas emissions, water use, land conversion, air pollution and waste throughout the company’s operations and supply chains. The accounts revealed environmental impacts costing a staggering EUR 145 million. The finding has prompted a new strategic direction for the company. “The unprecedented PUMA Environmental Profit and Loss Account has been indispensable for us to realise the immense value of nature’s services that are currently being taken for granted but without which companies could not sustain themselves.”Jochen Zeitz. Executive Chairman of PUMA.
The key point is that environmental goods and services are starting to be priced and any company does not adapt now will be faced with a life threatening bill.
On a more positive point – we see advanced companies understanding that helping to care for natural assets can be a cost effective way to secure the continued provision of resources. This is most evident within food and beverage companies who rely on freshwater. There are few better purification plants than a healthy forest.
How does Business fit into the greater Green Economy framework?
Business needs to be actively reducing environmental impact but also seeking to make a net positive improvement to the natural assets we all rely on. We see that they need to help persuade governments that progressive green economy policies will help reduce their risks, and ensure the right long term confidence for their sustainability investments.
What is the role of policy and policy makers in enabling the uptake of a Green Economy?
Policy makers have many tools they can apply from improving economic measurement to include social and environmental metrics, reforming the finance sector so it is dissuaded from casino banking and is capable of investing in green sectors, reform tax from labour to resource use, subsidy reforms, using public procurement to drive green sector innovation to name just a few. However most important is for them to show the leadership and signal that Green Economy is their national development ambition.
What is the Green Economy Coalition’s future work plan for 2013-2016?
The Green economy coalition’s work to 2015 is to champion ecological limits, inclusivity and equity in green economic policies and activities. We intend to influence the agendas of ‘economic power’: G20, World Economic Forum, business leaders and SME’s. We will grow and maintain our position as the clearest, most influential civil society voice on green economy. We shall do this by working at national, regional and global levels, sharing learning, facilitating dialogue, and influencing collectively on key critical transition policies. We welcome new partners on this important work and thank IUCN for its continued involvement.
* UNEP, Why a Green Economy matters for the Least Developed Countries, 2011
+UNEP, Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, 2012
To learn more about the GEC contact Oliver Greenfield at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oliver Greenfield, Convenor, Green Economy Coalition. Convenor is a carefully considered title to reflect network leadership, inviting people from diverse institutions and networks to work together, and enabling them to influence collectively. Prior to this role Oliver spent 7 years leading WWF-UK’s Sustainable Business and Economics work, where he pioneered systemic stakeholder change programmes: One Planet Business, One Planet Finance and One Planet Economy. Before WWF, Oliver managed change in industry and the public sector, as a corporate strategy consultant for Booz Company and as the senior strategy advisor for the BBC World Service.