A joint white paper from Oxford University’s Smith School and sustainability network 2degrees says the best businesses will cope with climate change through being more sustainable.

However, in order to be more sustainable businesses will need to put aside certain competitiveness issues and collaborate together.

In the white paper Sustainable Competitive Advantage -The 4th Economic Revolution: Unavoidable, Opportunity the social and environmental stresses driving us towards a fourth economic revolution are defined by resource scarcity.

The report recommends business works collaboratively on growth and efficiency, zero waste, renewable resource, climate resilience and eco-performance measurement.

The paper calls upon decision makers to take action inside their organisations, to adapt to the challenges defined by resource scarcity.

Speaking at the launch of the report last week Tesco climate change director, Helen Fleming, said the report was a ‘wakeup call’ to business.

She said: “Organisations that seek out opportunities for developing collaborative efficiencies will be among those that grow and survive through the fourth economic revolution, whilst reducing their costs, building consumer confidence and being more sustainable.”

2degrees founder, Martin Chilcott, added: “We sought to provide a clear definition of the pillars of a sustainable competitive advantage and future papers in the series will detail the characteristics which underpin this.

“Our long term goal is for the research to ultimately deliver levels of collaboration and problem-solving within a company’s supply-chain which is unsurpassed.”

Mr Chilcott added Tesco and the NHS were examples of ‘pioneering’ organisations that are increasing opportunities for efficiency and growth by adopting new ways of collaborating with different stakeholders.

Luke Walsh

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