Lab-Grown Diamonds: A More Ethical Alternative?

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At a time where large manufacturers are being scrutinized for their ethical and socially responsible supply chains, some iconic industries seem to have transcended, so far, this global imperative. Wrapping the product with the magic of scarcity, authenticity and natural beauty of the gems, traditional diamond producers have sold romance alongside stones, to such a point that the romantic cloak concealed the necessary questions consumers ought to ask with respect to sourcing, supply chain and impact.

But today, things could change with alternative production processes: lab-grown diamonds. A California based startup coined the process to make authentic-like gems, selling at one third less price. The stones are created from a tiny cell that goes through a chain of transformation steps to grow into a fine, equally attractive final product. According to the inventors, a jeweler would be unable to distinguish between the naturally produced and the lab-grown gems.

What this means to the industry? Debatable feelings about what the “grown” diamonds mean to their consumers, correct. But most importantly, more clarity about the ethical, social and environmental conditions under which those gems were created. The entirely traceable production process gives now more legitimacy to grown diamonds and will inevitably trigger a serious debate about why we should continue purchasing the unique, scarce, magical…and questionable natural diamonds.

More info >> The Economist

“The Future is Now”

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What will the future look like in five years? ten years? A Davos roundtable this January enlightened our minds on the unmistakable tipping points that will shape human history in the near future. For that, it was necessary to have multiple angle views from artists, activists, business people and politicians. In a nutshell, there are some core issues that will structure the depth and scope of the future. Continue reading ““The Future is Now””

“Sleepwalking” to the dead end?

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "climate dead end"« Is the world sleepwalking into a crisis?” This is how the 2019 Global Risk Report starts its summary of the global risks hovering over our planet as seen by chief economists at the World Economic Forum. And this is probably one of the most alarming yet truthful apologies we have ever been confronted with. Yet the stakes are high, at best. The report highlights that 60% of the global risks with both the highest likelihood and the highest impact are related to human-induced climate change. The remaining 40% most likely to hit are technological risks pertaining to cyber-security, data theft and fraud. Failing to mitigate those risks can present an inflection point in mankind’s history. Researchers have set the 2°C threshold for containable damage. Scientists claim that we have trespassed “planetary boundaries” and that we run short of time.

With the acceleration of industry 4.0 and the widening divide it creates between rich and poor countries, global inequality will be on a rise. Migration, poverty and exclusion increase public distrust, pushing for further populism and centroid policies.

But, it seems like there is a way out of this global trouble. And this way is exactly the opposite of what we’re seeing in protectionist regimes. Economists introduced the concept of Globalization 4.0 whereby transnational cooperation for planetary benefit overtakes the narrow view of national interests. In a scheme of an international shared vision, nations are called to join hands in collective action to create fair trade in a safe planet where human beings have equal chances of leading a decent life. Now, theory is good, and even strongly inspirational. But there is a big question which remains unanswered: “who gets his hands in first?” China, who claims its right to mass industrialization after a long era of economic faintness? Europe, who is divided between achieving the sustainability transition and safeguarding economic supremacy? Or the United States where the word ‘climate change’ is taboo in the Oval Office?

In this global geopolitical disorder where economic predation fuels political ambitions, the voices of weak stakeholders can have a weight. When political systems fail, consumers, scientists and businesspeople must act as responsible individuals who owe a debt of gratitude to this planet. For neither false discourses nor disguised handshakes will stop the roar of the chaos ahead.

Corto #1: In Hope We Trust

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Hier, un brillant groupe d’étudiants de différents pays du sélectif Programme Grande Ecole ont pris part à mon cours « Managing sustainably in emerging economies ». Le sujet du cours les intéressait à premier abord dans la mesure où ils apprendraient les concepts et mécanismes liés à la notion du développement durable et sa relation avec le doing business et la croissance économique.

Mais très vite, deux choix ont été faits pour repositionner les cartes et les aider à se faire une opinion :

  • Pour comprendre le présent et orienter le futur, il est indispensable d’analyser le passé. Une vision historique du développement économique mondial est donc nécessaire.
  • L’Afrique, représentant autant de risques que d’opportunités pour un développement planétaire durable est inclusif, est mise en avant-première dans la réflexion.

D’emblée, l’on se retrouve en train de débattre de la géopolitique du développement durable, des enjeux stratégiques nationaux et internationaux, et de l’ultime question « Is sustainable development feasible ? » Les visages s’assombrissent, on pause, on réfléchit, on prend conscience lentement que les enjeux sont complexes, que les conflits d’intérêt sont criants, que le temps joue contre nous.

Et puis, on prend aussi conscience qu’en tant qu’agents du changement, ces jeunes femmes et hommes seront très vite aux commandes de grandes entreprises et multinationales, et qu’ils seront capables de façonner le monde à leurs convictions pour un développement, cette fois, plus équitable, plus innovant car plus soucieux de l’impact écologique et humain qu’il produit.

Les visages défaits, incertains et inquiets ont quitté ce cours avec beaucoup de questions certes, mais aussi avec beaucoup d’espoir et de conviction que le changement est non seulement possible, mais qu’il est aussi entre leurs mains. A suivre…

Enseignement : Un escargot qui regarde un TGV passer

Enseignement

  • Rishab Jain, 13 ans, a remporté le grand prix « Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge » en Octobre dernier. Il a développé un algorithme basé sur l’intelligence artificielle pour mieux localiser et suivre le pancréas au cours de la radiothérapie par imagerie par résonance magnétique.
  • Gabby, Sebatian, Bradon, MO, Amber et d’autres sont des enfants et adolescents entrepreneurs avec des activités génératrices de revenus et de la célébrité en prime. Voir la vidéo

Ces deux exemples (Il y en a de nombreux autres), nous poussent à poser les questions suivantes :

Espresso– SDG #2 : “Alternative” meat to Feed the World

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– What is it about? Achieving Sustainable Development Goal number 2 – #Zero hunger – is unlikely to happen by 2030 if we continue with the existing unsustainable economic growth models. Alternatives are urgently needed.

– Proposed Solutions: Some hard-nosed food companies are embarking onto new technologies for artificially cultured meat production based on cells in laboratories. Meat without livestock means greater accessibility and lower environmental footprint. Others propose insect-based protein production.

– Scope: This science seems to be compelling even to governments like China which agreed in 2017 to import a $300 million worth of cultured meat from Israel, a well-advanced player in the field. Some major US and EU food giants are investing in this nascent and presumably promising industry.

– So What? According to experts, opportunities can be tremendous both for meeting the hunger gap globally, and for substantially reducing negative environmental impact accrued from meat and dairy production – livestock contribute about 15% of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. 

 – My Take: Ethical considerations need to be closely observed as to the side-effects and externalities of such “unnatural” way of producing meat. At the end of the day, a more natural, meat-free or low-meat, diet could prove healthier and more sustainable. Learn more >>

Ce qu’on met dans notre assiette pourrait sauver le monde !

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Le changement climatique et ses dernières répercussions font la priorité des préoccupations de plusieurs hauts responsables à l’échelle mondiale. Un rapport récent publié par un groupe de scientifiques des Nations Unies tire la sonnette d’alarme sur l’urgence de la question et la nécessité de prendre des mesures drastiques pour limiter les dégâts causés par l’activité humaine.

En gros, l’augmentation de la température de la terre d’1°C depuis l’ère préindustrielle serait responsable d’une majeure partie des déséquilibres climatiques enregistrés dans différentes parties de la planète. Aujourd’hui, cette tendance destructive s’accélère à un rythme qui nous dépasse, et les scientifiques parlent d’un état d’alarme… Continue reading “Ce qu’on met dans notre assiette pourrait sauver le monde !”