Can Business Save Us From Climate Change?

Can Business Save Us From Climate Change?

With no practical global climate policy, and a pair of Australian policies which seem set to be ineffective, it may appear that company provides the best hope for mitigating climate change. Company is starting to see climate change as a tactical threat, also is diminishing consumption to avert the worst climate affects.

However you will find three important reasons to not rely on company to rescue us from climate change. Finally we will require a global reaction to maintain carbon emissions below a safe threshold.

Business As Usual?

A increasingly common reaction to authorities climate inaction is to concentrate on company, and especially large multinational businesses, to save us from the worst consequences of climate change.

For example, a new New York Times story highlighted how international companies such as Coca-Cola and Nike were seeing climate change because of tactical threat. According to the report, these firms were reducing their usage of natural resources and analysing distribution chains to prevent the consequences of extreme weather events.

Green company was a familiar refrain for a while. Many big companies have introduced components of corporate environmentalism including focusing not just on the physical dangers of climate change to company operations, but also promote, standing and regulatory risks.

Once I started researching company answers to climate change a few years before, the notion of market capitalism reinventing itself about new technologies that could push us off our fossil fuel habit was enchanting.

However there are a range of issues in putting our hopes on company as our very best hope in preventing the worst of climate change.

Business: 1 Environment: 0

First, companies really only take part in environmental actions whenever there’s a business case to warrant such actions, which is, to raise shareholder value.

Sustainability proponents assert that there does not need to become a trade-off between environment and market, which mutual value could frequently be created.

However, what happens when the interests of this surroundings conflict with those of this marketplace. According to our study of large Australian firms, these battles almost necessarily mean that the pursuits of this marketplace will prevail.

Truly, as Peter Dauvergne in the University of British Columbia has cogently shown in his publication Eco-Business, a lot of the current attention of corporate environmentalism was aimed primarily at enhancing growth and supply chain efficiencies, to expand markets and production, and finally be environmentally sustainable.

Less Unsustainable

Secondly, relying upon business for a strategy is just incapable of supplying the type of systemic and fundamental changes which have to mitigate climate change.

For all the possibly commendable efforts of individual businesses in reducing their carbon emissions,’ retired sustainability academic John Ehrenfeld notes that this only equates to being a bit less unsustainable.

This is extremely different from sustainability as a method of preserving social and economic activities with the years in harmony with the surroundings.

Professor Dirk Matten, seeing University of Sydney in the University of York, recently argued that emphasizing corporate social responsibility only contributes to seas of pet jobs in a sea of corporate irresponsibility.

Diverts From The Real Problem

Third, putting our faith in business farther frees us from recommending for what’s really required: purposeful government regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

The only way we as a species may cope with climate change would be to radically lower our usage of fossil fuels and this may require regulation, technological innovation and, most probably, compulsory restrictions on fossil fuel usage.

For most on the political right, the notion of greater government regulation and limitations on using fossil fuels is heresy. But government regulation has always been essential to the economic operation of capitalist markets, especially in times of catastrophe.

Witness for example the function of authorities in liberal democracies throughout the Second World War, in which many economic actions came under government management as part of war-time mobilisation. It is not pretty but the choice of muddling together as we’ve appears much worse.

Wishful Thinking

In 2014 such governmental situations seem outlandish. In the absence of strong government actions we’re left with the expectation that somehow business corporations and the marketplace will save us.

That is past wishful thinking. In reality Daniel Nyberg in the University of Nottingham and I recently contended that this belief from corporate environmentalism forms among three political truths that fortify our suicidal trajectory as a species at the face of climate change.

I ardently support businesses which take purposeful action to reduce their carbon footprint, so reduce their waste and use of natural resources, and also return to the society and environment.

Really, as one mature novelty advisor acknowledged in one of our study that the best thing a company could do to the environment is to close down, but that is clearly not a feasible choice. Interesting work has been conducted round the kind of response required to prevent catastrophic climate change.

To acquire some notion of this challenging job at hand, Professor Kevin Anderson’s recent demonstration in the Tyndall Centre’s Radical Emissions Reduction Conference provides us a notion about what we may have to limit global warming to 2C.

Firms will undoubtedly be key actors within this economic and social change, but the scale of change also needs government regulation. We can’t afford to just leave it to company to save us from climate change.