Green Elephant Show
Green Elephant Show
Better Business Interview S2 - Steffen Boehm from University of Exeter Business School

Hello and welcome to our second series of Green Elephant Better Business interviews.

Better Businesses look beyond profit and strive to focus on social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit with their purpose.

Throughout this series, we are chatting with key people in organisations that have chosen to work towards making themselves, or helpings others, run Better Businesses.

00:35 Interview with Steffen Boehm from the University of Exeter

  • 01:44 Elephant in the room question – What is the definition of sustainability?
  • 02:27 The Triple Bottom Line
  • 02:28 The Environmental Aspect – Planetary Boundaries
  • 03:38 The Social Aspect – The UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • 04:08 The Economic Aspect
  • 05:15 Capitalism – is it broken?
  • 06:19 None of our three dimensions are currently sustainable
  • 07:33 Alternatives exists
    • Ecocultures – Blueprints for sustainable communities
  • 08:25 The rise of the Eco-village… even in the UK
  • 09:30 Is ‘growth’ the problem?
    • Tevi – Cornish for Growth
  • 10:45 GDP Growth is a very narrow perspective
  • 11:14 Need new measures… urgently
  • 12:28 A political change is required
  • 12:50 Place-based sustainability perspective
  • 14:35 What happens in government matters!
  • 16:06 Positive Impact, Net Zero, Carbon neutral… what about these targets?
  • 16:58 Climate is back on the table now after a 7-8 year lull
  • 18:34 Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
  • 18:56 Gotta mention the Microsoft pledge!
  • 19:48 It’s the ‘Net’ in the Net-zero which is the important bit
  • 20:20 Carbon Offsetting being pushed hard by Mark Carney
  • 21:05 The Carbon Offset projects are not always delivering
  • 22:00 Creative Carbon Accounting
    • Upsetting the Offset: The Political Economy of Carbon Markets
  • 23:33 It’s all down to the governance, management, monitoring and accounting
  • 24:09 Local place-based offsetting schemes
  • 25:00 What is Carbon Trading?
  • 27:20 Only works if the trading cap is set at the right level
  • 28:00 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or voluntary schemes
  • 29:43 The Carbon Price has doubled in the last six months (@21 July 2021). Why?
  • 31:20 Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) driving the carbon price
  • 32:05 Well run carbon schemes should, in effect, act as a carbon tax
  • 33:25 BP even changed its name to “Beyond Petroleum” but still not making a big difference
  • 34:15 Carbon Taxation will affect the consumer
  • 34:50 Activism – media, extreme, corporate, personal – should we all be activists?
    • Watch this space for a new book on this!
  • 37:42 Not all activist talk is activist action – brand activism
  • 39:16 In moments of crisis the community spirit comes through
  • 40:00. The race for space tourism… why?
  • 40:50 Capitalism and the exponential growth model
  • 42:01 B Corps is one approach
  • 43:20 Change comes from the bottom up
  • 43:55 The World Trade Organisation (WTO) underpins a global trading system
  • 44:34 Bringing about change is not a linear activity
  • 46:42 What’s academia’s role in all of this?
  • 48:56 Played an active role in the University of Exeter’s sustainability challenges
  • 49:17 Universities need to lead in sustainability
  • 53:00 Before COP26 – New book will be launched to answer “Why after 30 years are we still talking about climate change?”

50:10 Tip/Action

  • Too much thinking is not good for thinking. 
  • Engage with your ‘place’.
  • Get your hands dirty – engage in nature – try gardening – do some wordwork

54:17 Recommendation

56:10 Fact or Fake

  1. There are 92 countries with national carbon emissions trading schemes and China will start trading on theirs in late 2021 (FAKE)
    1. There are around 45 countries with national carbon emissions trading schemes and China has just started trading on theirs
    2. What makes China’s scheme different from those operating in other countries and regions, such as the European Union, Canada and Argentina, is that China has chosen to focus on reducing the intensity of emissions generation, rather than absolute emissions.
  2. Film Maker Richard Curtis has launched a campaign called Make My Money Matter with a Green Pensions Charter which now has 63 signatories. UK Pension schemes manage £1.3 Trillion in fund (FAKE)
    1. UK Pension schemes manage £2.6 Trillion in fund (FACT)
    2. reported on 21 July that 11 new joiners including household names such as supermarket giant Tesco, hardware retailer Travis Perkins and leading creative agency Mother, bringing the total number of signatories to 63.
    3. greening your pension is 21x more impactful at cutting your carbon than going veggie, stopping flying and switching to a green energy provider combined.
  3. The Sengwer people of Embobut forest in Kenya were violently forced from their homes and dispossessed of their ancestral lands as part of a government plan to reduce deforestation (FACT)
    1. Amnesty International reports The Sengwer people were moved without being consulted, and never consented to the plans for their removal – a violation of both Kenyan and international law. 


Find Steffen Boehm (Steffen Böhm), Mayfly Books and University of Exeter here:

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