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Idle Thoughts @tomidle

The turn of the year tends to throw up a multitude of predictions for the 12 months ahead. Twitter is full of it, as are the vari- ous blogs. And it certain- ly makes for interesting reading.


Take Lindsay James’s Sustainability

Trends to Watch in 2011 from the magnificently- titled Cut The Fluff blog by InterfaceFLOR. She pins her hopes on a bigger take-up of the “environ- mental version of nutrition facts”, environmental product declarations, expecting “the green media” to highlight the need for “no-nonsense eco-labels”. Like many other future-gazers, she also predicts – and “looks forward to” – increased oil prices, “which will drive demand and investment in recy- cled materials, as well as alternative energy”. Lastly, she longs for an increased knowledge of biomimicry. The SB radar will certainly pick up on all three issues, as well as many others, during the course of the year. But while we’ve chosen not to make a list of predictions for what will be the hottest topic in 2011, there is one trend that sustainable business will need to buy into: corporate resilience. As I type, residents of Queensland are reeling from the effects of extreme weather that has not only destroyed the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of Australians, but also tampered with the economic life of a region. The flood bill for this latest natural disaster could exceed £3B. In fact, the insurance company, Munich Re, says that 2010 was the worst year since 1980 for losses to industry from natural disasters.

Queensland’s mining sector has been hit hard. It produces almost two-thirds of the world’s coking coal. And the flooding has managed to wipe out the rail networks that link several of its mines to ports, leaving a queue of ships waiting to be loaded. Of course, the ramifications for energy prices could be

Here’s a prediction: extreme weather is here to stay, so be prepared

huge as the fallout is realised. The disaster doesn’t just throw up questions for BHP Billiton or Anglo American or Xstrata or Rio Tinto – or the mining sector, in isolation. Extreme weather – and, even- tually, the effects of climate change – will affect operating costs and corporate profitability across the board. But too often these risks are ignored; adaptation strategies have fallen by the wayside; climate resilience has not entered core corporate decision-making processes. Why? Natural disasters are clearly not once-in-a-lifetime occurrences and businesses – particularly those with complex supply chains that stretch across the world – must begin to treat risk management with the respect it deserves.

Get your diaries out and make a note:

Sustainable Business – The Event returns to

Birmingham’s NEC on 24-26 May.

Showcasing the best examples of corporate strategy, energy efficiency, low-carbon transport, sustainability reporting, and more, the event is a unique conference and exhibition from the producers of SB, providing a perfect platform to learn, network and find solutions for your busi- ness as you progress on your journey towards becoming a truly sustainable business. See you there. >

TOM IDLE EDITOR P.S. Don’t forget to follow my tweets @tomidle. More Sustainable Business

than just a magazine



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