When we scan the solar system for signs of life, we look for water. Earth life requires water. The whereabouts and availability of water on Earth are determined by geology, life, and activity in the climate system, which is made up of thermal energy flows moving between the atmosphere and the ocean. Biodiversity is driven by the presence of water and life, under stable climate conditions, conducive to the ongoing viability of life in a given place.

This graph of network relationships connects:

  • water, climate, and biodiversity resilience to…
  • agriculture, food, finance, energy, infrastructure, science, shipping, watersheds, ocean health and resilience, forestry, and land use practices.
  • This tangle of entanglements traces the whole-Earth active-value economy (WEAVE) from the day the Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 until mid-July 2019.
  • As we wrote on June 5, 2019:

    Our exclusion of natural system value from the calculation of monetary or market value has been so extreme, we must now consciously shift to a recognition of how any particular kind of exchange influences the health and resilience of natural systems. This is not just human-to-nature altruism; the result of solid WEAVE analysis is an overall improvement in sustainable prosperity and quality of life.

    The WEAVE GKG is the “4-dimensional bird’s nest of relational dynamics” we noted would follow from integrating Earth-systems insights into economic and financial considerations, to visualize macrocritical (economy-shaping) drivers of cost and value, over time (the 4th dimension).

    What we learn from initial exploration of this constellation of complex evolving relationships is that everything eventually touches water quality, and everything moving through forests, farmland, and watersheds, ultimately conditions ocean health and resilience. We also can see that critical infrastructure is more closely tied to environmental outcomes than most infrastructure permitting processes tend to recognize.

    Additional critical insights emerge from the knowledge network connected to any particular entity. Does, for instance, a major agricultural enterprise enjoy a wealth of knowledge relationships with environmental outcome observers or issue areas? The first clue is entanglement; the next must come from inquiry: how much does that particular entity know about its own supply chain?

    Broader, deeper, and more detailed supply-chain knowledge is a competitive advantage; the old thinking about the convenience of not knowing—and therefore not being responsible for—the activities that run through one’s supply chain, is obsolete. We have entered the regenerative prosperity market paradigm. It is, as we noted on June 5, time to “Avoid opaque or generally unsustainable supply-chain participants, and ask others to avoid them as well.”

    This creates something more like a clear pathway to clean finance:

    1. Recognize we have underpriced natural systems value.
    2. Recognize that the value of polluting to avoid business costs is negative, not positive.
    3. Take action to align your internal operations with these recognitions.
    4. Take action to align your supply chain with these recognitions.
    5. Look for future investment opportunities that generate no harm to natural systems.
    6. Work with partners, and investors, who also avoid the cost, risk, and liability, inherent in generating, or financing, the degradation of natural systems.
    The United States—as a nation, an everyday economy, a system of laws, and a financial market—has extensive network connections already, waiting to be optimized to achieve reliable regenerative prosperity.

    What will emerge is a more integral view of value creation, a broader and deeper landscape of investment opportunity, and the opportunity catalyst that is early and ongoing market leadership.

    • If you are the breakthrough leader, or one of them, then you will be able to carry that reputational benefit with you throughout the shift to more ethical, sustainable standards.
    • If you consistently build more internal and generalized resilience through your operations and investments, then capital will flow to you, as others work to keep up.
    Clockwise from top left: The European Commission; the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; the US Supreme Court; a major industrial food production company. Data visualization: GDELT; composite rendering: Resilience Intel.

    We can also see deficits, and comparative knowledge-network advantage. In the above renderings, we can see:

    1. The light blue European Commission (upper left) is doing better at keeping pace with the overall landscape of climate action than most.
    2. The yellow graph in the upper right is the UNFCCC—the global climate negotiating process—which is clearly more complex than any of the respective actors.
    3. The US Supreme Court (lower right) is getting more active, but still not up to speed.
    4. In the lower left, we see one major industrial food production company, with only three known knowledge connections covering climate, water, biodiversity and at least one of the other parameters of this network graphic process.

    Keep in mind:

    • We have overtaxed the natural systems that sustain life on Earth.
    • Building resilience and expanding resilience intelligence are operational imperatives.
    • We cannot afford to fail to reveal and harness the added value inherent in sustainable investing.

    That food company’s WEAVE graph is highly streamlined, because it effectively mirrors the old thinking about efficiency in corporate structures: Public authorities exist to protect the public interest; focus only on the task at hand. This outmoded thinking created a bias against environmentally responsible innovation—the bias being that such investments would be “all cost and no gain”.

    Because that old thinking engenders a structural lack of access to information about sustainable practices, it puts institutions with fewer WEAVE knowledge connections at a competitive disadvantage. We can start to see where Earth systems value adds operational value, when we recognize that these knowledge connections are a structural competitive advantage.

    The business or institution with too few WEAVE knowledge connections does not need to become an expert in navigating these kind of data systems. The solution is to integrate into your everyday way of doing business other entities that do perform well against these standards.

    Left to right: Red: the World Trade Organization; Green: US economy, farming and finance; Purple: ecosystem services; Yellow: the Sustainable Development Goals. In this sequence, we quickly see how adding ecosystem services adds value-creation opportunities, and how the SDGs create still more robust opportunities for regenerative prosperity. Data visualization: GDELT; composite rendering: Resilience Intel.

    Major institutions need to greatly expand, deepen, and connect their efforts to invest in sustainable future opportunity. It is no longer a question of whether it will be worth it; it is now a question of how fast you run in the race to lead the clean economy.

    As we delve deeper into the WEAVE network graph, we will share critical action insights for leaders and institutions to optimize their regenerative prosperity performance. As we build out the Resilience Intel Consortium of technical and strategic partners, these knowledge connections will inform interacting datasets.

    The result will be a consistent alignment of whole-Earth active-value with the everyday value-building considerations of financial decision-makers.