Corporations expected to fight climate change

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While advances in climate legislation pose risks for some emission-intensive industries, they present an overwhelming opportunity for the private sector overall. Consumers support private sector leadership on climate change, with more than half of global consumers believing corporations are better positioned than governments to combat climate change.

A recent survey, Communities and Citizenship: Redesigned for a New World, was conducted online among more than 10,000 adults in 31 countries.

More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents say businesses bear as much responsibility as governments for driving positive social change, and 73% believe that the more powerful corporations become, the more obligated they are to behave ethically and with the public interest in mind.

And guess what? They’re right. Many of today’s best climate solutions are emerging not in risk-management responses to government regulation, but in opportunistic action by companies.

Forward-looking executives see that environmental changes threaten their existing way of operating, and they recognise that solving these issues now will position them for the longer-term, as governments and consumers become more environmentally active.

Firms currently ignoring sustainability do so because they generally aren’t responsible for covering the costs of their operations’ negative environmental impact, says a paper published last month as part of the International Conference on Information Systems. As sustainability-dominant logic settles in, firms will start being held responsible for their impact on poor air quality, pollution and deforestation.

Here are some tips for making the transition to a sustainable practice, from some of New Zealand's leading sustainability businesses:

  • Look into the future to see what current practises foreshadow
  • Align  the  whole  team  with  the  vision  through  connection  with  their  personal values
  • 100% commitment is needed from the leader(s)
  • Be authentic – It can’t be done as an add on, build the trust in your brand
  • Remember that decisions must make business sense, sustainable financially
  • Get advice and support when you need it
  • Communicate and educate your customers, suppliers and stakeholders


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