Quit looking in the mirror, it’s time to look out the window.
We have lived the past centuries without necessarily worrying about the consequences of our actions through activities with each other as well as with our natural ecosystem. Today, humanity is on the precipice of extinction, and we face an imminent risk of catastrophe caused by us.
Allow me to provide a little bit of context;
On Environmental risks:
Global warming has gone past the threshold of 1.1°C, if we fail to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2050 thereby limiting warming to 1.5°C, Africa will face high-impact, self-reinforcing, and non-retractable climate hazards like high temperatures, flooding, drought, etc.
Global Population is set to rise to 8.6billion by the mid-2030s and 9.8billion by the mid-2050s, and 2/3 (two thirds) of this exponential growth is set to take place in Africa. With limited resources, Africa is set to plunge into mass poverty with knock-on effects in Health safety, Starvation, Disease epidemic, Crime & violence, etc.
Natural resources such as Antimony (for making EVs -Electric Vehicles), Iridium (for making solar panels), Zinc, Copper, and Titanium, faces extinction – Titanium having the longest life span of 45 years. Effects? – This poses a huge threat to the survival of companies producing global in-demand products requiring such endangered raw materials. More so, Africa as one of the largest deposits stands the risk of becoming an economically non-viable continent.
Moreso, 70% of fresh water is being used for Agricultural purposes, and many parts of Africa and Asia will suffer increased physical water stress. Already, 2.5billion people lack access to clean water.
Over 2 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year, 30-50% of our food is wasted either in supply chain or in consumption, and could feed another 3 billion people. In South Africa, 50% of mangoes are damaged in the first mile of transportation. Besides climate change reaction, supply chain disruption is the 2nd biggest causative of food scarcity and steady hikes in prices of food.
On Social risks:
Gender inequality – Women reinvest 90% of their earned income into their families and communities; a much higher percentage than men, and even though women do 66% of the world’s work, they receive only 10% of the income. They represent 50% of the world’s population, but they are almost invisible as suppliers in the global value chain. In December last year, women lost a total of 156,000 jobs in the US, while men gained 16,000 jobs in the same period. Gender inclusivity should become a necessity rather than a prop for business Public Relations.
Income inequality– We are witnessing an increase in the short supply of opportunities that extends to gender, age, ethnicity, disability, etc. And this poses a high-risk challenge. In Nigeria, about 15% or 35m youths (more than two in every five young people) in today’s workforce are unemployed or are working but poor. In Africa, that percentage hits nearly 60%.
We believe that if we are to achieve global productivity through eradicating poverty, organizations and stakeholders must be heavily invested in up-skilling, re-skilling their employees as well as providing social benefits to members of their local communities. Maximum working hours, health & safety, fair wages, and the right to collective bargaining should become a top priority for organizations, regardless of size and region.
Today, the word sustainability has morphed from being a buzzword to becoming a clarion call for all. A report from IPCC shows that industrial processes as an economic sector contribute 21% of greenhouse gas emissions, making businesses the 2nd largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions after the energy sector.
At CliMatr, we are pioneering a culture of sustainable business development in Africa, businesses with strong economic, environmental and social impact foundations are sure to ride the waves of longevity and relevance. We provide the expertise through design thinking to ensure the advancement of this new way of building ventures, guaranteeing that businesses are a force for good for the environment, enabling social development (internally and externally) while thriving economically (Read our full manifesto here).
Contact us to begin your sustainability journey.
About the Author
Benjamin Udokwu is the Managing Partner for Social Sustainability at Climatr.
He is an avid reader and researcher. He has keen interests in the African retail economy- formal and informal alike. He has extensive practical skills in systems engineering, business development, strategy and operations, corporate sustainability, and design thinking.
Favorite quote: “Knowledge is knowing the right answer, Wisdom is asking the right questions”.