Jan Kriekels is the CEO and Owner of Jaga. It is Jan’s commitment to sustainability that drives Jaga’s entire philosophy. Here, Jan gives his take on the Paris Climate Summit COP21.
Any time that a global consensus to drive sustainability happens is great. Events such as the Paris Climate Summit COP21 are undoubtedly key to reversing the energy-thirsty habits we have developed.
But whilst the gesture is encouraging, unfortunately, the commitments that seem to result are only recommended – nothing agreed is obligatory. It is a start, but not enough.
The goal is to limit further warming of our planet to well below 2°C, with 1.5°C being the target. Now, at the end of 2015, the earth’s average temperature has increased by 1°C when compared to the pre-industrial era. It is no coincidence that an increase in natural disasters and the dramatic changing of our landscapes has occurred during this period.
Unfortunately, we live in a world focused on making money in the short term, but we urgently need a long-term vision. We have to innovate in order to survive on this planet and realise that a green economy can also be financially prosperous. Doing so requires us to reach a principle of commonality for all countries, but with differentiated responsibility. That means higher mitigation targets for rich countries, the continuous development of sustainable technologies, and a technology transfer from these rich countries to the poorer.
The building sector is one area where we can make a substantial difference. The sector in general contributes up to 30% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions and consumes up to 40% of all energy. Given the massive growth in transitional construction economies, the inefficiencies of existing buildings could double the sectors impact over the next twenty years.
Therefore, it is clear that governments and decision-makers must do more to tackle emissions from the building sector. By implementing regulations that drive energy-efficient, low greenhouse gas emission buildings, we can create jobs, save money and most importantly, shape a built environment demonstrates a net positive influence.
But even a seemingly small change can go a long way. For example at Jaga in Belgium, we have one car-free day a week. We encourage people to carpool, cycle or walk and organise all kinds of incentives to encourage this, such as competitions and prizes. Whilst obviously this is good for the environment, it also creates a comradery within the company and can influence more sustainable practices in our employees’ day to day lives.
We have a responsibility to the next generations to preserve the planet. We are going in the right direction, but far too slowly. As individuals and businesses, saving our planet should not be an obligation. There is no time left – Paris was a start, but we require a greater collective buy-in from everyone to influence a genuinely sustainable change.
You can read more on Jan Kriekel’s views on sustainability in his book, INNOVATE OR DIE.
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