Before 2023, our focus was always squarely on data—analytics, modelling, testing, quality, decisioning and optimization. Those things will continue to be core skills and areas for us. But going forward, we will be making planetary sustainability our central focus when we look for projects.
Sustainability is a new focus for the company, but is not a new area of interest. Our founder, Nick Radcliffe, became interested in the impact of humans on the Earth’s ecosystems while studying at Sussex in the mid 1980s. When he came to Edinburgh to do a Ph.D. in 1986, his interest grew, and he collaborated with Tony Clayton, who was then a researcher at the Centre for Human Ecology, at Edinburgh University, for a decade. Clayton and Radcliffe were commissioned by WWF Scotland to write a book, Sustainability: A Systems Approach, which was published in 1996 by Earthscan in the UK, and by Westfield in the USA.
The book is now old and many of the details reflect a much less sophisticated understanding of the planet’s systems than now exists, most of its predictions and observations (unfortunately) broadly stand the test of time. Not only are the multiple environmental crises we face—whether climate change, biodversity loss or ecosystem degradation—now more advanced than in the 1990s, but the science is firmer and the time available to tackle the problems shorter than ever. There is also increasing evidence that the sorts of feedback loops, non-linear system responses and critical points (“tipping points”) that we speculated about are real and relevant to the crises we face, making the limited action taken to date even more problematical. Meanwhile, the polarization of populations, and the contrast beeen the lives and resource-intensive lifestyles of the global elites and those of people without even the basics essential to life (driven partly by the very environmental degradations already mentioned) grows even more stark.
Expect, over coming months, to see more content here relating to sustainability and, all being well, expect to see us undertaking more work in this area. We would keen to talk to anyone looking for help projects (particularly data intensive projects) that focus on sustainability and the just transitions we so clearly need.