Before I return to the important question of what sustainable consulting will look like, a friend has written to me to highlight one figure from the KPMG report.
A company called Trucost has calculated “the full environmental costs of production in 11 key industry sectors” (see chart).
On average across these sectors in 2010, the environmental cost for every US dollar of earnings (EBITDA) was $0.41.
This is the figure she wanted to share.
Think about that for a moment. For every dollar of profit made by these companies, 41 cents of cost were imposed on someone else; on someone else’s quality of life. And there have been hundreds of billions of dollars of profit.
No wonder an exponential increase in corporate profits has been paralleled by exponential decrease in the quality of our environment.
For every dollar of earnings made by these companies, 41 cents of costs were imposed on someone else. Were imposed on you and me.
There is no ‘away’.
Human beings no longer live in the environment, we are each others’ environment.
The corporate profits in these eleven sectors represent a small number of people making a large amount of money, by taking a small amount of money away from each of the rest of us. They’re not cleaning up their own mess.
The question is, how much longer will we allow our neighbours to dump their garbage into our gardens?