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Published: June 10, 2008

 
 

The Next Industrial Imperative

We are just beginning to face the 80-20 challenge. Everything that has happened so far to address this issue, all the measures taken around the world, are small compared to what is coming. No one knows how an 80 percent reduction in global carbon emissions can be achieved in two decades, but it certainly won’t happen through minor adjustments in business as usual. Many individuals and organizations are leading the way now; many more will follow. And as they coalesce, innovate, and interact, their leadership will shape a world profoundly different from the “take–make–waste” indus­trial age society.

Reprint No. 08205

Author Profiles:


Peter Senge is a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL). He is the author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (Doubleday, 1990 and 2006) and coauthor of The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook (Doubleday, 1994) and Presence (Doubleday, 2005).

Bryan Smith is a member of the faculty at York University’s Sustainable Enterprise Academy, and the president of the consulting firm Broad Reach Innovations Inc. He is a coauthor of The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and the related fieldbook series. He was a senior partner for 18 years at Innovation Associates, a firm that pioneered the practice of organizational learning.

Nina Kruschwitz is the editor of Reflections: The SoL Journal on Knowledge, Learning, and Change. She is also the managing editor for the Fifth Discipline fieldbook series.

This article was adapted from The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World, by Peter Senge, Bryan Smith, Nina Kruschwitz, Joe Laur, and Sara Schley (Doubleday, 2008).
 
 
 
 
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Resources

  1. Mark Borden, Jeff Chu, Charles Fishman, Michael A. Prospero, and Danielle Sacks, “50 Ways to Green Your Business,” Fast Company, November 2007: Discusses the use of oat hulls as fuel.
  2. Lars Christensen, Formation for Collective Action: The Development of BioFuel Region,” Visanu (Swedish National Programme for Development of Innovation Systems and Clusters), October 2005: Case study of Sweden’s BioFuel Region.
  3. Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Viking, 2004): The sweeping history of human impact on the environment, and its evolution into today’s bubble — and potential crisis.
  4. Viren Doshi, Gary Schulman, and Daniel Gabaldon, “Lights! Water! Motion!s+b, Spring 2007: Complementary challenge in urban infrastructure.
  5. General Electric, Delivering on Ecomagination” 2006, Statement of aspiration, profit, and impact of this high-profile endeavor.
  6. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2007 — The Physical Science Basis (Cambridge University Press, 2007): Definitive, comprehensive source on the atmospheric science of climate change.
  7. Kate Raworth et al., “Adapting to Climate Change: What’s Needed in Poor Countries, and Who Should Pay,” Oxfam Briefing Paper No. 104, May 29, 2007: Covers the $50 billion per year current costs, the greater potential costs, and the responsibility of rich countries.
  8. Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (1990; 2nd ed., Doubleday, 2006): Conceptual and practical guide to “learning disciplines” that transform collective capabilities, including the capability of moving beyond the bubble.
  9. Peter Senge, Bryan Smith, Nina Kruschwitz, Joe Laur, and Sara Schley, The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World (Doubleday, 2008): Describes the shift in thinking and action needed to meet the 80-20 challenge.
  10. Nicholas Stern, The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review (Cambridge University Press, 2007): Impact and benefits of early action.
  11. Linda Booth Sweeney and John Sterman, “Understanding Public Complacency about Climate Change: Adults’ Mental Models of Climate Change Violate Conservation of Matter,” Climatic Change, vol. 80, no. 3–4, February 2007: Explains the stocks and flows of climate change.
  12. Edward O. Wilson, “The Ecological Footprint,” 2000 Kistler Prize Acceptance Speech, Carnegie Foundation, 2001: “In the real real world governed by both the market and natural economies, all of life together is locked in a Cadmean struggle. Left unabated, the struggle will be lost, first by the biosphere, and then by us.”
  13. For more on global perspectives, sign up for s+b’s RSS feeds.
 
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