By: Will Herman, Account Director & Manufacturing Sector Lead
Picking up on a project started some months back, I found myself reflecting on the last weeks of 2023. Among other things, we’d had the customary works ‘Christmas do’. Easing into the night with a truly awful low alcohol pale ale, soon to be replaced with a quality Malbec, a colleague turned to me and asked what my New Year’s resolution would be.
It was a bit of a conversation killer frankly.
And to be honest I was stumped.
Now, there are a lot of things I’d like to do better, and quite a few I ought to have less of (Malbec included), but did any really warrant a resolution? It all felt a little superficial somehow, trivial when compared with the real challenges ahead. The conversation moved on, the Malbec flowed, and the mood lightened. But a nagging sense of something stuck fast.
COP28 & the rise of fossil fuels...
Right now, last year suddenly seems a long time ago. And next year might well seem impossibly distant as you try to claw back to some sense of working routine, filter the Christmas spam and search through the holiday fog for that all important action you had the best intention of picking up, first day back.
Sound familiar? If so, don’t worry. It’s only another 357 days until Christmas. And last year isn’t really that long ago. In fact, it’s only 23 days since I was asked about my resolution, and more notably, since COP 28 concluded.
The date was more notable still, because for the first time, COP 28 saw the words ‘fossil fuels’ included in an outcome. This is significant. Very significant, because while everyone seems to have been talking about net zero and decarbonisation for some time, carbon itself is not the problem. We are all carbon-based life forms after all. No. It’s the carbon produced by extracting and burning fossil fuels that is the problem. Or Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to be accurate. Sorry if I’m teaching you to suck eggs but stay with me.
Now COP 28 saw hundreds if not thousands of discussions among delegates including business leaders, climate activists, NGOs and more, all focused to a greater or lesser extent on the action required to move away from fossil fuels. Yet these ambitions, laudable as they are, will be worth nothing if collectively, we lack the resolve to take global action.
But it’s true there’s been a great deal of action already. Did you know that it is possible to lock 50l of CO2 in a domino-sized piece of rock? It’s a process that occurs naturally over millions of years, but the technology already exists to replicate this process on an industrial scale, and within timescales that mean it is one more viable means of tackling the climate crisis.
Think global but JFDI locally...
Now it’s fair to say that any resolution I might make, is unlikely to influence global action or result in the investment required to see these sorts of technologies developed at the scale and pace so desperately needed. But local sustainability action is just as critical and something most of us can influence right now. To paraphrase Nike, which claims to be ‘reimagining things top to bottom through sustainability and circularity’, isn’t about time we just do it? Or as an old boss of mine liked to say: JFDI.
Ok but what about my resolution I hear you say. Well, the ‘other half’ thinks I should go for cold showers. Cut the energy bill and save the planet. Win-win she says. She’s right of course. She always is. But actually, I think this year, I’ll focus on food prep’: fewer trips to the shops, better planning, healthier meals and less food waste. Ok it might not be the most remarkable resolution, but that’s not the point. The point is to make sure you do it.
Now. pass the Malbec. In fact, make that a can of Malbec. Haven’t you heard? They’re infinitely recyclable.