This month, Al Gore returned to TED 10 years after his haunting climate crisis speech. "This time, I have some good news" he said to the packed house, and indeed his new TED Talk shared many stats on how we're adapting to eco-friendly energy resources even faster than predicted. It is great for the earth, but is it great for your business? It depends on your business... and how adaptable you can be to the quite-literally changing climate.
There are a few ways the reaction to the climate crisis will change our business.
First, expect more people to ask your carbon practices before joining your company. It may seem laughable, but just 15 years ago recycling was considered a rare, if not excessive act. Today, companies like Kind, Tom's and Patagonia have actually built their brands on being environmentally thoughtful and sustainable - and, in turn are attracting like-minded individuals who care more than just getting a buck. In particular, Millennials are more conscious about their allegiance to particular companies based on personal ethics and beliefs.
Second, watch startups fill in the gaps in the new world's needs. As we become more climate conscious, niche fields like solar and recyclable power will boom based on world needs. As Gore notes, solar power in emerging markets is booming because many countries are leapfrogging traditional power wires - going from no power to solar power. It is akin to a country skipping phone lines and going straight to 4G service. Areas in Africa, South America and Asia will suddenly be thriving based on new opportunities and will need companies to help steer their new energy needs.
Third, certain long-time businesses will be passe, if not eliminated. Coal, gas and related fields are in danger, as would companies based on beachfront properties (with the rising sea level) and seafood development (with the rising sea temperature severely affecting wildlife). This isn't speculation: In his own TED Talk earlier, Uber's Travis Kalanick discussed how the ride-sharing company is helping eliminate CO2 from the environment. It may not be altruistic, but at least Uber can position itself as a pro-ecosystem company.
How are you preparing your business for the adjusting climate needs?