The fascist and his minions deny climate change, and by loosening up regulations and promoting activities that will further destroy the natural environment, they are all set to bring about hell on earth, instead of making heaven right here on earth. The fuhrer gleefully announced that he was withdrawing the US from the Paris agreement. What does the market think about all these? Will business leaders cheer the maniac, or are they taking a different approach?
Harvard Business Review takes this up, which is made clear in the headline itself:
No ambiguity there, right? HBR has created "the Future Economy Project."
We’ve enlisted prominent thinkers and leading CEOs who understand that sustainable business practices are in a company’s long-term interests. They will help us answer questions like: How does sustainability fit into a company’s strategy? How can you make core business operations more sustainable? How do you convince major stakeholders — employees, investors, the board, and customers — that sustainability is the right path? And what type of leadership will take us there?HBR adds:
We don’t pretend to have all the answers — and neither do the pioneering business leaders who are joining this initiative. But over the coming months, we will provide case studies and practical lessons from their experiences to help other executives who believe that profits and environmental responsibility must go hand in hand.One of the HBR essays leads with this:
The Future Economy Project will culminate in the publication of a list of principles and actions, endorsed by our partners, aimed at outlining a path for businesses that want to pursue sustainable goals. The principles will reflect our partners’ thinking on how to operationalize sustainability throughout the enterprise.
Despite conflicting messages about climate change from U.S. government leaders, sustainability is getting more and more attention at American companies. Shareholders are ratcheting up their demands on environmental and social issues. Consumers are registering their concerns about how companies make their products. And talented Millennial employees are voting with their feet by leaving laggard companies behind. Meanwhile, new technologies are making it easier for sustainability investments to pay off in the middle to long term.I have always believed that transformations will be less of a hurdle if we created the appropriate contexts for the profit-motive. Because, merely appealing to people to do the right thing rarely works, if ever. And once we tap into that profit motive, things can happen seemingly overnight.
Of course, as conservative organizations, businesses are resistant and reactionary, especially if the change will not help the bottom-line. But, businesses--unlike politicians--are not ideological and, hence, do change their outlook. Therefore, in addition to yelling at politicians, we the people ought to yell even louder at businesses. Chances are that businesses will listen to us and act way quicker than the elected official will.
At the university where I teach, for a year we worked on creating a new academic major called "sustainability." I think my most important contribution there was to structure it such that students could focus on their business interests in sustainability. To me, it was a no-brainer that business should be a part of the major. For once, people actually listened to me! ;) This HBR report adds that much more validation of the major that we have created.