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Piecing Together the Sustainability Puzzle – Alice Schmidt

Six essentials at intersection of people, planet, and profit

Podcast Summary

Our latest Energy Superhero, Alice Schmidt, joins host Peter Perri to shed light on her comprehensive approach to sustainability. As a renowned speaker and consultant in the sustainability space, Alice brings to the table her unique perspective on the intersection of people, planet, and profit. She is the author of acclaimed book “The Sustainability Puzzle”, in which she unpacks her six essential “puzzle pieces” for sustainability: climate action, circular economy, technology, responsible consumption, sustainable business, and social justice. 

In this episode, Alice delivers impactful insights on how we can employ these puzzle pieces to create a better future for all:

  • According to Alice, climate action is not a separate endeavor, but rather an integral part of business operations. It is about recognizing that ecosystem services, the benefits that nature provides to human well-being, are vital to the success and survival of businesses. She believes businesses have a role to play in the preservation of these services, not merely as a corporate responsibility initiative, but as a strategic imperative for long-term viability.
  • Alice turns the spotlight on policy implementation in Western democracies, specifically touching on the potential of a carbon tax. However, she cautions that it needs to be priced effectively to truly drive change. She praises the EU’s progressive climate initiatives, highlighting the impact of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive in holding businesses accountable.
  • You can’t ignore the disparity in emissions between developed and developing countries. While countries like China and India are major emitters today, historically, wealthier nations have contributed more to cumulative emissions. Alice argues that businesses should be held accountable not only for what they’re emitting now, but also what they’ve emitted in the past. 
  • When it comes to global sustainability, the African continent holds a unique position. While Africa has vast potential for growth, it also faces many challenges in the coming decades, especially considering its expected population boom. Alice argues that the global community needs to support Africa in its development journey while also ensuring sustainability.

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