The overshoot Olympics: Content Coms asks… which countries are the worst climate offenders?


Team GB is doing exceptionally well in Rio de Janeiro. Historically, the event as a whole draws humanity together, in an aspirational drive for hard work, commitment and togetherness.

For those reasons, it’s fascinating to draw comparisons on how today’s climate is looking, and the work that’s so urgently needed to fix it.

Who wins gold in the dark race of overconsumption?

As the Olympics got started, EDIE noted that Earth’s Overshoot Day, the date on which humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that same year, had moved from early October in 2000 to 8 August in 2016.

A welcome platform given to climate change, albeit briefly during the Olympics opening ceremony, saw an estimated 3 billion people worldwide tuning in for an unexpected lesson about sea level rise and global warming.

The video sought to show rapidly how the earth’s temperature has spiked over time. But the darker truths are shown in the ‘medal table’ of the world’s top climate offenders.

EDIE writes that, if there were an Olympic Games of global resource overconsumption, the gold medal would go to Australia. A table from the Global Footprint Network shows if we all used the same resources Australians do, we would need 5.4 Earths to regenerate them. We have only 1.

The USA would take silver with 4.8 Earths, and bronze would go to Switzerland with 3.3 Earths. The UK would rank eighth; our population uses the same resources it would require 2.9 Earths to replenish.

The message is stark; despite the Paris pledge on climate protection, we are still vastly overconsuming what the planet has to offer; overfishing, overharvesting and overemitting CO2.

Business stepping up to the blocks

EDIE though, notes that many businesses are getting their house in order. It says ING has raised €27bn to fund green business growth, while Virgin Media recorded its “biggest ever” year-on-year carbon reduction.

Johnson & Johnson has launched a new set of highly-ambitious sustainability targets for 2020, and Ford’s Dagenham facilities unveiled plans to halve energy and water consumption on the production line.

“The truth is; business has the tools at hand to tackle overconsumption,” says Jo Watchman, Founder and CEO of B2B industrial marketing consultancy Content Coms.

“Innovation and resilience are today’s watchwords. The companies which innovate, which use energy efficiency and embrace low carbon, which green up their supply chains, will be trading profitably in the future.