The Race to Zero

John Elkington, the Founding Partner and Executive Chairman of Volans, challenged his audience to “break the sustainability barrier” at the Singapore International Foundation’s fifth Ideas for a Better World Forum.

John Elkington challenged his audience to “break the sustainability barrier”.

Aircraft took years to break through the sound barrier and for the longest time, it was thought to be an impossible feat for any human being to complete a mile in less than four minutes, a record which has since been lowered by almost 17 seconds in the last 50 years.

In the same way, world-renowned authority on sustainability practices, Mr John Elkington, who is also the Founding Partner and Executive Chairman of Volans, challenged his audience to “break the sustainability barrier” at the Singapore International Foundation (SIF)’s fifth Ideas for a Better World Forum held on 27 Oct 2011.

The 62-year-old Briton believes that with determination and over time, we can move towards achieving zero adverse impact in areas such as carbon waste, poverty and pollution.

Sharing from his new book, The Zeronauts which is scheduled for release in April next year, Mr Elkington advocated for individuals and corporations to adopt and develop our Future Quotient, a measure of our effectiveness in long-term innovation in response to the urgent call for greater sustainable living.

According to his five dimensions of change, we need to move towards systemic change, to expand our scope of work, do deeper analysis of issues and set more ambitious goals for ourselves.

A recent sustainability survey also revealed that commitment to sustainability values is now considered a bigger factor in determining leadership, with Unilever currently recognised as a front-runner.

At the end of the day, Mr Elkington and the forum panellists, Associate Professor Simon Tay and Mr Howard Shaw agreed that it is the everyday things which we do that count and add up to make a significant difference. Cycling, packing food in reusable containers, recycling trash and choosing to drive hybrid cars are some simple tasks we can do to play our part for the environment.

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