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Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Talking Balance of Crisis

In a recent series of interviews with academia and business leaders on the themes of economic crisis, climate change and innovation, it has struck me that not only is the economic situation in Europe precarious, but also that keeping the focus on innovation is a challenge. 

We knew that sustainability goals are at risk of being abandoned but innovation and technological development, which one interviewee described as the engines of the recovery, are also hanging by a thread.

One business leader told me the only way to succeed in this economic climate is to cut costs, but not on innovation or on core values.  He recommended that companies and governments adopt this approach.  This same firm has just won an innovation award, so they must be doing something right.

On sustainability too, we keep urging industry not to give up now.  But if you are cutting jobs and struggling to survive, it's understandable that sustainability objectives might be the first to fall by the wayside.  We're taking part in a forthcoming global convention bringing together industry, academia and policymakers and we've coined the phrase 'balance of crisis' to focus the discussions. 

'Balance of crisis' takes on board the fact that the economic pressures on industry and government are the most immediate, but firmly keeps climate change and other environmental issues in the picture, as these are the long-term concerns which will not go away.