WEAVE-smart enterprise innovation is an emerging market imperative

Every economy in the world has systematically undervalued natural systems and structural resilience at the human scale. For a long time, industry has fretted over the perceived “cost” of making operations marginally more ethical and sustainable. This fear-based thinking has led to what is now a planetary crisis.

The Whole-Earth Active-Value Economy (WEAVE) is emerging as the structure for highest-value future investment. An introduction to WEAVE, published by Geoversiv, notes:

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 degradation of natural systems is now reaching a level of such severity we could see comprehensive food system crisis on every continent simultaneously, within 1 to 2 decades. We are no longer in the world where policy change is a market risk; we are not talking about whether decision-makers “believe the science”.

Science is not negotiable. Crisis-level natural system degradation is now a geophysical reality. In other words, we are in a climate emergency, and the risk, damage, and cost, that follow from climate disruption will affect all areas of business and investment, regardless of what policies are adopted.

It is well past time for any organization—public or private sector, large or small, local or global in scope and scale—to deliberately examine its connection to WEAVE-smart innovators and service providers. Gaining an understanding of those knowledge connections will make sure decision-makers can see clearly where their highest value innovations should happen.

The WEAVE Knowledge Network Graph is a Resilience Intel product, created using the GDELT Analysis Service. It is a “synaptic graph” of knowledge network connections between:

  • 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.

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.

The World Bank reports that:

Every year, infrastructure disruptions cost more than $300 billion to firms and $90 billion to households in low- and middle-income countries.  And while natural hazards are not responsible for all these disruptions, they still explain between 10 and 70 percent of them, depending on the sectors and the countries.

Bridges and roadways that favor vehicles that burn fossil fuels undermine the long-term resilience of related infrastructure and investment, by contributing to the overall acceleration of global heating. 60% of the Greenland Ice Sheet surface has been observed to be melting this summer, building in ice loss not expected to happen until 2070:

… temperatures at the highest reaches of the Greenland ice sheet rose above freezing, melting snow at the Summit Station (10,550 feet above sea level) for the first time since July 2012 and perhaps only the third time in the last seven centuries.

Three major takeaways are:

  • 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.

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 Geoversiv 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.

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.

The WEAVE Knowledge Network Graph was first published at ResilienceIntel.org, on July 19, 2019.

As we delve deeper into the WEAVE network graph, Liberate Enterprise will outline critical action insights that can help point the way toward business model change and investment opportunities related to the regenerative prosperity paradigm. We will also contribute innovation insights to the Resilience Intel Consortium of technical and strategic partners, and report where possible on that work.

For full access to the WEAVE Knowledge Network Graph project, go to ResilienceIntel.org/GKG