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Planetary Boundaries

Planetary Boundaries

Together with Albaeco we have initiated a holistic environmental evaluation, the first ever corporate Planetary Boundaries Assessment, based on research from the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Recently, world leaders gathered in New York to set a new trajectory for the future, soon they will meet in Paris. Now it’s high time for business to take action and to do so with adequate knowledge and basis in science.

Planetary Boundaries provide a holistic way of analysing the state of the planet. They have acquired international recogni- tion and contributed to the UN’s recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Planetary Boundaries framework aligns perfectly with the holistic approach and ambition of Houdini Sportswear, the Swedish outdoor company at the forefront in its eld. This is why Houdini and the non-pro t organization Albaeco have initiated an explorative collaboration to analyse Houdini’s work from a Planetary Boundaries perspective. Albaeco is clo- sely tied to the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) a world-renowned hub for sustainability science, known among other things for its work on planetary boundaries and ecosystem services.

The ambition of the Houdini Albaeco collaboration is to create an open-source method for assessing business from a Plane- tary Boundaries perspective.

”The Planetary Boundaries Assessment will provide us with a deeper understanding of our impact today so that we can take measures towards signi cant improvements tomorrow,” says Eva Karlsson, CEO of Houdini Sportswear. “Our goal is zero negative impact. Our timeline: as soon as possible. In order to reach our goal, interdisciplinary collaborations for knowledge sharing and innovation is key”.

The Planetary Boundaries framework identifies nine global environmental boundaries we should remain within to avoid unacceptable global environmental change. It has since its publication in 2009 triggered widespread interest from NGOs, businesses and policy. The boundaries include for example climate change, biodiversity loss, freshwater use and chemical pollution. Staying within the safe operating space that the boundaries presents, means we can count on nature to continue producing the so-called ecosystem services we all depend on. Everything from cleaning the air we breathe and pollinating our crops to regulating the climate and ocean currents. Not to mention simply providing breath-taking and awe-inspiring places to hike, ski, climb or just be in.

”A more holistic view on the environment can help businesses see their impact more clearly and move towards not only reducing their negative impact but working to strengthen important ecosystem services,” says Fredrik Moberg, co-director of Albaeco.

Big and small, these are the processes that make planet Earth a place where humans can live, develop and prosper.
In January this year when an update to the Planetary Boundaries research was published four of the nine boundaries were estimated to have been crossed. This means we are treading unfamiliar and risky territory.

2015 however also marks important potential turning points for the sustainability agenda. World leaders will have met three times to discuss the way forward before the year comes to a close. In July they met in Addis Ababa to discuss Financing for Development, in September the UN adopted 17 SDGs and in December Paris will host the UN’s climate change conference to discuss a universal climate agreement.

“We certainly welcome the development we’re seeing in the SDGs and hope that this will encourage more businesses to follow suit,” says Eva Karlsson.

The manufacturing and consumption of clothes plays a role, like every other industry. For example, cotton is one of the most pesticide and water demanding crops grown; chemicals used when treating fabrics risk polluting water downstream from factories; and shell layers have often been produced using compounds that stay in the environment inde nitely and accumulate in the fatty tissues of wildlife.

The UN’s SDGs are each important in their own right and also all interconnected. Goal 12 speci cally targets responsible production and consumption, putting sustainable practices in business on the international agenda even more rmly.
Houdini Sportswear is a progressive Swedish outdoor company committed to keeping the great outdoors great and provi- ding the gear to take you there. Since 2006 the company has implemented ambitious sustainability strategies and reached groundbreaking sustainability goals. More than 65% of Houdini’s products have been converted into a circular lifecycle and 99,5% are made in Europe.

A substantial part of Houdini’s collections is made from recycled or renewable bres and a closed-loop garment-recycling program has been in place since 2006. In its quest to transform consumption and improve resource e ciency further Hou- dini is currently exploring the collaborative business model, o ering services such as rental, reuse and repairs.
Albaeco has been working since 1998 with strategic environmental communication, science communication, consulting and environmental training for companies. Their goal is to translate the latest research ndings to communicative insights on the interactions between nature, society and economy.

“It is high time to operationalize the Planetary Boundaries in a business context and we look forward to exploring this together with Houdini,” says Fredrik Moberg.