Recovery to Resilience: How Energy & Sustainability Professionals Can Prepare for the Turn
We are living in an extraordinary time, the likes of which few of us could even imagine a few months ago. The ramifications of COVID-19 on human physical and mental health, the global economy, businesses (including many of our clients), and more are simply unfathomable.
While optimism is difficult during such a tragedy, there are outcomes from the global response to this crisis that bear examination. One is the unprecedented coordination and actions of world governments to slow and control the spread of the virus. Another is the empathetic reaction the virus has drawn out, uniting people in care for each other. Still another is the planetary impact. While the virus has had devastating effects on our economy, we have also seen a drop in global emissions and air pollution and more mindful behavior of the consumption of goods.
The situation has led many to draw parallels to the global response—or relative lack thereof, so far—to climate change. The acute threat of the virus has already claimed thousands of lives; yet, the existential threat of climate change is also a global health emergency, affecting millions of people each year with the potential to affect even more in the future.
If pressed to find a silver lining, the relative value of the pandemic is that it has given us a unique opportunity to practice our global threat response; practice that will serve us when it comes to acting on climate change. We’ve learned how quickly and how radically we can implement broad spectrum social and financial measures. We’ve identified gaps in our systems, such as supply chain, that must be mitigated. We’ve also seen the speed and agility with which global business has pivoted, finding opportunities for operational experimentation and transformational innovation in this trying time.
Albeit slowly—and as we figure out a new way of working—the world is thirsting to shift towards recovery, whether at the country level, the corporate level, or the individual level. For energy and sustainability professionals, that will mean getting back to the work of achieving increasingly ambitious goals around carbon abatement. The dip in carbon emissions during this crisis is almost certainly temporary, and efforts to stimulate the economy could have a rebound effect. Now is an ideal time to ensure you have a clear, pragmatic, and cost-effective strategy and execution roadmap to achieve your goals in a recovery scenario.