• The challenges of applying planetary boundaries as a basis for strategic decision-making in companies with global supply chains

      Clift, R.; Sim, S,; King, H.; Chenoweth, J.L.; Christie, I.; Clavreul, J.; Mueller, C.; Posthuma, L.; Boulay, A.M.; Chaplin-Kramer, R.; et al. (2017)
      The Planetary Boundaries (PB) framework represents a significant advance in specifying the ecological constraints on human development. However, to enable decision-makers in business and public policy to respect these constraints in strategic planning, the PB framework needs to be developed to generate practical tools. With this objective in mind, we analyse the recent literature and highlight three major scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the PB approach in decision-making: first, identification of thresholds or boundaries with associated metrics for different geographical scales; second, the need to frame approaches to allocate fair shares in the 'safe operating space' bounded by the PBs across the value chain and; third, the need for international bodies to co-ordinate the implementation of the measures needed to respect the Planetary Boundaries. For the first two of these challenges, we consider how they might be addressed for four PBs: climate change, freshwater use, biosphere integrity and chemical pollution and other novel entities. Four key opportunities are identified: (1) development of a common system of metrics that can be applied consistently at and across different scales; (2) setting 'distance from boundary' measures that can be applied at different scales; (3) development of global, preferably open-source, databases and models; and (4) advancing understanding of the interactions between the different PBs. Addressing the scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the planetary boundaries needs be complemented with progress in addressing the equity and ethical issues in allocating the safe operating space between companies and sectors.
    • Sustainability and the Circular Economy

      Clift, R.; Martin, G.; Mair, Simon (Elsevier, 2022-04-14)
      Sustainability is a triad including techno-economic efficiency, compatibility with the “Planetary Boundaries”, and equity - enabling a decent quality of life for all. Circular Economy models often focus only on closing material flows in order to increase economic activity or market share. This overlooks the equity dimension. Here we focus on the Performance Economy, which extends the Circular Economy in ways that can enhance equity. The Performance Economy model concentrates on making best use of stocks in the economy, including labour which is a renewable resource. Extending product life through re-use, remanufacturing and reprocessing and shifting from non-renewable inputs (including energy) to renewable inputs (including labour) can improve resource efficiency and increase the supply of rewarding employment. The Performance Economy requires changes in business practices more than technological innovation, including a different view of the functions of value chains, and can be promoted by different approaches to taxation.