We declare a climate emergency

Listed Under: Blog, Circular Economy, Resource Scarcity, Sustainable Business


Sustainable Business Design joins the UK Parliament, UK Universities and leading UK Businesses in declaring a climate emergency.

Our current predominant economic and business model of Make-Use-Dispose was designed at a time when the consequences for the environment, for people and for our way of life were not fully understood. This has now changed, and it is clear that “business as usual” is no longer an option. We need to change to a new economic model of Make-Use-Return, the "Circular Economy", if we are going to continue to create a high standard of living for our kids and every person on the planet.

We believe that:

  • Sustainability is good for business and business has a leading role to play in the solution, alongside consumers and government.
  • Sustainability can improve profitability by driving innovation and lowering operating costs whilst safeguarding the future of your business.
  • Our approach needs to be strategic, fact-based and consistent.
  • At the same time, we need to be bold, optimistic and not afraid of the lack of perfect information. Let’s make a start today and learn from our mistakes.
  • We’re all on a journey, let’s support every business that has started out on that journey and work together to find the solutions to the problem.
  • Change is led from the top and must engage all the stakeholders in the business: shareholders, employees, suppliers and customers.
  • We need to look for sustainable opportunities in all dimensions of the business including:
  • Innovation
  • Supply-chain
  • Operations
  • Customers
  • Measures
  • People


To achieve lasting change, businesses need to address their Business Model, ensuring that the whole organisation is aligned to deliver sustainable financial, social and environmental outcomes.


What are we doing?

Sustainable Business Design was formed to help change our economic model by helping businesses to find practical ways to make the Circular Economy a  reality. We believe that the Circular Economy is good for business and can help grow your Profits whilst also generating better outcomes for the Planet and for People. We also strive to operating sustainably ourselves and have committed to achieving a Carbon Neutral position this year and Net Positive by the end of 2020.

To find out more about our approach and how it could help your business please visit https://www.sustainablebd.com/what-we-do

Circular Economy
Circular Economy




Why have we done this?

According to the best currently available science:

  1. We are on track to reach a global temperature rise of 3 degrees by the end of the century1
  2. We need to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and to zero by 2050 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees2
  3. 60% of wildlife has been lost since 19703
  4. Only 7% of reefs in The Great Barrier Reef have escaped bleaching entirely4
  5. We’re on course to lose over half of all insects by the end of the century5
  6. Over the past two decades, sea levels have risen by 3.2mm per annum6
  7. The last five years – from 2014 to 2018 – are the warmest years ever recorded in the 139 years that NOAA has tracked global heat7
  8. With the current rate of soil degradation, we have 60 years of farming left8
  9. Climate change will drive the migration of 200 million people worldwide by 20509
  10. Six Pacific Islands have already been lost to flooding10


As a result, we need to start acting now to change the future. We need to act consistently, making decisions for the long-term on the best available evidence.


The Declaration

Business was designed in a time when there was a different expectation of the role of business in taking climate action. This context has changed. Today we are clear there is a Climate Emergency which will require immediate and radical action by our and other businesses.

We believe based on the facts we know today, it would be a breach of our duties as directors of the company and custodians of our stakeholders’ interests to continue as though there is not a Climate Emergency.

This Declaration requires that the entire business design be rethought in the context of a Climate Emergency. This includes an immediate commitment to Carbon Neutrality and to achieving Net Positive by the end of 2020.

This Declaration commits us to reshape the short, medium and long-term strategy and business model of the company, and that this redesign must embrace the principles of ‘just transition’ which takes into account people who will be implicated in this Declaration.

We must seek to maximise the interests of all stakeholders - shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers - in the context of a total commitment to doing what is required by the Climate Emergency.



This declaration is based on the B-Lab Climate Emergency Playbook. We wholeheartedly support the values and aims of the playbook and would urge all UK business to do the same. The logo has been designed as a freely usable resource by Leap.

Both of these resources can be downloaded by clicking on the image below.

Climate Emergency Playbook Cover
Climate Emergency Playbook Cover


1. Nature.com 2018


3. WWF 2018

4. Coralcoe.org.au

5. Sciencemag.org

6. Royal Society

7. National Geographic

8. Scientificamerican.com

9. National Geographic 2019

10. iopscience.iop.org