Millennial angst, plastic recycling, and tech rules for boardrooms

Young millennials say private sector not doing enough on clean tech

Two in five young adults see climate change as the biggest challenge facing the world in a decade’s time, according to a new global opinion survey.
Other concerns cited by this so-called Generation Z demographic include the global economy (34%), terrorism (32%), poverty and inequality (29%) and unemployment (29%). Based on interviews with nearly 5,000 18- to 25-year-olds in 20 countries, the global survey also reveals that two-fifths (41%) of Generation Zers think business should be taking responsibility, along with government, to develop clean technology and renewable energy. Only one fifth (20%) believe the private sector is doing enough at present.
Another highlight from the report, which was commissioned by Masdar, an Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company, is the willingness of young consumers to put their ethics into practice. Nearly half (46%) think sustainable products are “just as good” as regular alternatives, with a similar percentage (49%) admitting to having spent more to purchase from a sustainable company. On the flipside, nearly one third (31%) say they have boycotted a company because of its bad record on sustainability.

UK plastics recycling ‘a confused mess’

Only one third of the 1.5 million tonnes of recyclable plastic created every year in the UK gets a second life through recycling and reuse, with the remainder destined for incineration or landfill, according to a new study.
A major part of the problem is consumer confusion. More than three in four householders (77%) confess to being unsure about what soft plastics can be recycled, while more than half (59%) are unclear what to do with plastic pots, tubs and trays. Inconsistency among council-led curbside recollection systems fuels the problem as well. Almost all the 391 local authorities in the UK (99.7%) recycle plastic bottles, but nearly one quarter (24%) do not collect hard plastics and more than four-fifths (82%) do not collect plastic film (such as bags for rice or pasta). UK households recycled 499,625 tonnes of plastic over the last year, 1% higher than the previous year, with 340,000 tonnes of it plastic bottles. The figures are collated by UK retailer The Cooperative Group, which has a commitment to ensure 80% of its packaging is recyclable by 2020.

Technology tops talent for CEOs

Chief executives have a “startling” lack of focus on, or confidence in, the value of their employees, a global C-suite survey by human resource specialist Korn Ferry finds. More than two-fifths (44%) of leaders in top businesses say robotics, automation and artificial intelligence will make people “largely irrelevant” in the future of work.
And the future is near. Within five years, technology will outstrip internal talent as an effective means of creating value, say two-thirds (67%) of the surveyed leaders. A similar ratio (63%) claim that technology will represent their firm’s greatest source of competitive advantage come 2021. On average, the 800 respondents report devoting between 40%-60% of their strategic focus, time and financial investment on tech-related issues. This comes despite human capital potentially generating an estimated $1,215tr for the global economy – more than double that of tangible assets such as technology and real estate.


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