Over the last 30 years the business discourse on environmental problems has evolved from single-issue approaches to environmental management to multi-faceted approaches to sustainable development.The older approach – a downstream, react-and-cure, after-thought reaction – is slowly being replaced.

The newer approach –an upstream, anticipate-and-prevent,proactive approach –is gradually emerging. It involves integrated assessments of the social, economic and environmental impacts of ‘development’ in decision making.

The difference in the newer ‘sustainability’ approach is its focus on integrating and mainstreaming social, economic and environmental factors in decision making. To be effective in decision making roles, managers and leaders need to understand the distinction between environmental management and sustainable development and the operational use of the terms in business and government. Management and boards of directors need to appreciate that fiduciary responsibility now includes many sustainability risk considerations, notably carbon emissions and climate risks.

What we do. Our advisory services reveal the hidden economic and social costs of environmental management and business strategy in an organisation’s data and stakeholder views. Bringing hidden costs and views to light enables leaders and managers to make change through data-driven strategies. This work can improve business knowledge of sustainability by providing a business with a better understanding of its own data and stakeholder values.

Our private sector work brings businesses up-to-date with information, trends and tools on business strategy for sustainability, including:

  • Corporate Sustainability Reporting: Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting: ISO’s 26000 CSR Guideline
  • Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) Risk Assessment
  • Triple Bottom Line Accounting & Environmental / Sustainability Management Accounting
  • The Natural Capital Protocol
  • The capital framework in Integrated Reporting
  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, says that ‘one of the biggest challenges’ companies have is diversifying away from carbon’. He raises the questions of climate risks that company directors face if they do not take action.

GeoTrends Economics & Sustainability adds value to public policy initiatives by analysing data, information and reporting on trends and leading practices. We undertake environmental/ sustainability analysis and reviews to stimulate greater accountability for environmental and sustainability performance.Our Sustainable Economy – Green Growth services contribute to public policy development. Designing an economy based on sustainable consumption and production and involving low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive pathways is essential in connecting the dots between environmental, social and economic impacts.At the core of a sustainable economy is integrated decision making by government, industry and society on the development and adoption of policies, plans, strategies, practices and technologies that promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production, efficient use of natural resources, safe management of chemicals, urban and regional resilience, regional natural resource management, and mutually supportive economic and environmental policies.

WHAT WE DO. GeoTrends provides technical assistance, sustainability insights and capacity building support for local, regional and national initiatives on the sustainable economy.

We:

  • conduct research on green growth, green jobs, economic diversification, trade and the environment, circular and sustainable economies
  • advise on economic instruments, conservation incentives and design
  • advise on deliberative policy instruments (e.g., Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) in fisheries)
  • promote deliberative economics for community engagement in Regional Natural Resource Management Bodies
  • prepare thematic papers and policy briefs based on research and analysis (e.g., NRM Governance)
  • review sectoral, national and international green economy reports and provide feedback on improving the quality of analysis and communication (e.g., Accounting for social and environmental 
costs)
  • check data and facts presented in national reports and results of modelling exercises;
  • decouple undifferentiated economic growth from resource consumption to achieve green growth (economic growth without expensive side effects).

Our public policy development and implementation work on sustainability draws on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the OECD, UN, NASA, IPCC, and other authoritative sources.

What is Green Growth?

  • Green growth can be seen as a way to pursue economic growth and development while preventing environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and unsustainable natural resource use.
  • By accounting for environmental risks that could hold back social and economic progress, and improving competitive conditions in the economy, green growth policies can help spur transformational change and ensure that investing in the environment can contribute to new, more sustainable sources of growth and development. (OECD, 2012)

We advise on climate change adaptation planning and the development of change management strategies given climate change risks. Adapting means responding to changing circumstances. As a strategic decision, adaptation can be applied to considerations other than the impacts of climate change. This might include adapting to environmental change such as resource or biodiversity depletion, pollution, or other environmental impacts which drive socio-economic change.

WHAT WE DO.

We:

  • assess current climate change information and the gap between the latest scientific reports and actual decisions or decision making processes on adaptation in a specific locale
  • advise on the National Climate Change Adaptation Facility (NCCARF) CoastAdapt Climate Change Adaptation Decision Support (C-CADS) tool
  • advise on cost-effective measures to build climate resilience into adaptation plans, strategies, processes and activities
  • undertake socio-economic resilience studies of climate change adaptation and NRM investment
  • conduct monitoring, evaluation, and reporting (MER) studies on climate change adaptation initiatives 
(policy implementation) and NRM investment (e.g., NSW study)
  • Promote consultative processes for community deliberation.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defined adaptation as ‘any adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities’.

Whether you are in the public, private, or not-for-profit sector, developing sustainability strategies and making sustainability decisions can be challenging. We advise on how you can integrate and mainstream sustainability considerations in decision making processes through enhanced communications and learning.

Workshops include:

  • Sustainability is a strategic issue for business
  • Sustainability reporting
  • Sustainable economy and green growth
  • Circular economy development
  • Climate change risk
  • Climate change adaptation planning
  • Conservation incentives and design
  • Others (on request)

WHAT WE DO.

We:

  • Evaluate and advise on how to improve sustainability communications internally and externally:
    • Does your internal communications system lead to performance improvements on sustainability issues? How effective is your external communications in promoting achievements on sustainability performance improvements?
  • Provide business coaching on sustainability & governance for sustainability:
    • Do you need a coach?
  • Advise organisations on how to create strong sustainability teams:
    • Do you want to create or enhance the effectiveness of a sustainability team?
  • Organise workshops on topical problems:
    • What issues would you like to have facilitated?
  • Design change management strategies:
    • Have behavioural and performance issues been considered?
  • Brief executives on the importance of performance-oriented Sustainability Reporting:
    • Are you greening the executive team or boardroom?
  • Deliver workshops and courses on sustainability:
    • Are you seeking to enhance skills sets and knowledge of officers, managers and the executive team?