Futures

Green futures

This blog is not – and should not be – about my job. However, amidst the seemingly never ending flow of bad news and generally depressing business atmosphere here in London, we are about to launch a report with some positive findings. I think that is worth sharing.

The Carbon Salary Survey is the first attempt to map the landscape of the emerging profession of carbon professionals, i.e. people working in renewables, energy consulting, carbon trading, etc. – in short, ‘green collar’ workers. The survey suggests that:

-68 pct of green workers feel same or more job security
-Over three quarters of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their jobs
-93 percent said they would recommend a career in the environmental sector to others

Despite the recent slow-down in green venture capital available, passion is undoubtedly the human capital (sustainable) futures are made of.

Not quite ready yet, the preliminary findings have been picked up widely:
New York Times: Green Workers Feel Safe Among Slum
The Guardian: Earning Green Workers Feel Safe in Jobs

Posted in Environments, Futures No Comments »

The future, finally it is here…

It has come to a point where I can talk about my future without, god forbid, jinxing it.

I decided a long time back that a full-time academic career would not be compatible with what I want in my life and the kind of professional roles I envisage myself in. However, I would hate to break off my connections with the research community that I value so much, in Oxford and beyond. I have thought a lot about the best ways in which to maintain links with the Academy, on the one hand, and industry, on the other, without compromising my integrity in either role. This in turn has led me to invest a lot of thought in myself as a ‘project’ – and no doubt I will need to do a lot more work before everything falls into place – but I believe I have cracked it.

So, upon submitting my thesis within the next few months, I will take up a position as a partner in a London-based CSR consultancy working on a range of really, really interesting projects for corporate clients mainly. It is a small employee-owned company that I know quite well since I have worked for them in various capacities over the past couple of years. Also, the job will entail quite a lot of traveling in Scandinavia, Norway in particular, so I look forward to re-discovering my viking ancestry and catching up with friends and family… (in addition to the business aspects, of course.)

Secondly, I am currently planning a research project on a yet to be shared in public theme under the auspices of the James Martin Institute. This is something I will be doing part time in collaboration with one or two brilliant people – yay!

Thirdly, I will maintain Oxford as my base for at least another year, in fact I will be moving to a place that is, even for Oxford standards, steeped in history.

As remarked by our all-time favourite social thinker, “I love it when a good plan comes together.”

Posted in Academic, Futures No Comments »

Erhverslivets ansvarlighed

Det siger unægteligt noget om niveauet for dansk CSR-tænkning, nÃ¥r Dansk Erhverv – under den intetsigende tagline ‘Doing well by doing good’ – inviterer til et seminar omkring erhvervslivets ansvarlighed med indlæg af Ulrik Wilbek og manden der kan kan snakke om alt, Tor Nørretranders.

Jeg har stor respekt for begge to, men jeg undrer mig over, hvorfor man har valgt så velkendte travere udi kunsten at underholde virksomhedsledere/forsamlingshuse til et område, der skriger på nytænkning.

Posted in Dansk, Ethics, Futures No Comments »

Fashion at work

The cool kids in the Valley tell me that all the really cool kids quit their jobs and switched from eBay to Google. Then, a year ago, all the really, really cool kids quit their jobs at Google and started working for Facebook. I wonder where the really, really, really cool kids will go next?

I think it is just a matter of time before an ‘online’ service with some sort of ethical/sustainable component to it will sweep users off the feet worldwide. Budding entrepreneurs should probably pay attention to Actics to learn how not to do it.

Posted in Berkeley, Ethics, Futures No Comments »

Thinking aloud

Having successfully transferred on to the final stage of the doctorate, for the first time I am in a position to see the dim light at the end of the tunnel, and what a wonderful journey it has been.

The curious thing about doctoral work, at least in the social sciences, is that you are bound to go down all the wrong alleys and end up in a place that you had never before envisaged. This has nothing to do with bad planning, on the contrary, it is about coming to grips with complexity and a great deal of luck; meeting the right people in the right place, stumbling upon informative books and articles in places no-one thought possible, and, of course, trying to keep up spirits in what inevitably will turn out to be a very lonely endeavour.

People have asked me why I would ever want to waste 3+ years doing a DPhil when I am not even sure I want an academic career. Admittedly, I envy those of my friends who are now two years up the corporate/start-up ladder and ‘worry’ about such things as real estate and the next promotion. On the other hand, no matter how ‘poor’ I may be at present and in the foreseeable future, let there be no doubt; I have been laughing all the way, and I will continue to do so.

Broadly speaking, with ‘ethics’ popping up everywhere and a severe lack of expertise in many fields*, there are three professional avenues opening up: a) research/lecturing in academia, b) working in industry in a CSR postion, or c) becoming a start-up guy. Each option comes with its own merits and risks, but an ideal solution might be found in combining a) with either b) or c), so that is what I am pursuing.

*I will write a separate post on this in a not too distant future.

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Ideas that matter

I decided to follow in Tarek‘s footsteps and do a bit of promotion for the Oxford 21st Century Challenge Competition for business ideas that make a difference. The organisers set out to reward initiatives that will help solve some of the most pertinent challenges of the 21st century.

As some of you may know, the competition is organised by my institute, and the so-called challenge tracks are inspired by the research streams conducted here. These are Tomorrow’s Planet (the environment), Tomorrow’s People (healthcare and medicine) and Tomorrow’s Wealth (wealth distribution).

If you have a good idea and would like to get your hands on the £65,000 prize fund, I encourage you to have a look at this website. You can also join the group on Facebook.

May the best idea win.

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