The Hard Path to Sustainability

Murray Hogarth of Ecos Corporation writes a honest op-ed in The Age today about the real challenge of climate change.

With everybody getting unto the green bandwagon it is important for companies to understand where they stand. Is it all trying to catch the latest trend or something more important. Are they really trying to make a transition to a low-carbon economy?

He believes that there is a genuine danger that business and politicians will underestimate the challenge and “that they will be wrong-footed by seeing responses framed by “soft” CSR thinking as adequate when super-hard, far-reaching decisions and actions are needed.”

As I have emphasized before, the concept of CSR is mushy I am not comfortable with the language.CSR is just too good to be true. The language gives it away: “Win-wins” for business and society; “doing well by doing good”, and “capitalism with a heart”.

What is the solution?

Such gushing tag lines can make for a lot more PR sizzle than business-value sausage. How easy is it to just sign on for “Earth Hour”, “Cool Aid”, “Cool the Planet” or other media-orchestrated, climate-related initiatives that suddenly abound now that global warming action, both real and symbolic, is so fashionable?

Climate change for business is about core risk and opportunity, not nicely presented sustainability reports and conference-going. If this is an injustice to some tougher-minded practitioners of CSR, it accurately captures how many pursue it as they sidestep the real issues of rising greenhouse gas levels, changing atmospheric composition, higher average temperatures and extreme weather shifts.

The real test of how green or responsible a business or brand is now is simple. If they don’t have a hard business strategy to cut greenhouse gas pollution fast, they are faking it or at least dodging the main game.

Murray Hogarth puts it well. It is important to stop talking and walking the talk.

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One thought on “The Hard Path to Sustainability

  1. Pingback: World is Green : Business Strategy and Sustainability CSR and Communications «

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