Does Business Care about the Environment??

March 5, 2013
Denise Mullen

Yes business people do, absolutely. Where did the view that they don’t’ come from anyway?

Business people live in communities. They are your neighbours, your family, your friends, and maybe even you. You buy things and services from them, you eat and you debate with them over the dinner table, you talk over the fence with them. These aren't people or entities removed from who we are or monsters under the bed.

They aren't strangers.

Often they are entrepreneurs who have seen an opportunity and found a way to supply the rest of us with the goods and services we need and demand, to create jobs and to contribute to the economy of BC and Canada.

Looking around the world, one of the hot-button topics and messages from business leaders is about addressing the needs and wants of a growing world population in a way that can sustain an eventual 9 billion of us by 2050, and at the same time be sensitive to the pressure this will put on the natural environment. A daunting task, to say the least. Business people increasingly understand that without healthy natural systems, the ability to sustain their businesses is undermined.

Business leaders are not avoiding the subject of the environment.

In fact, over the last few years there have been many reports – too many to name – that have talked about investing in development in ways that get us more with less, that encourage collaboration, and that better manage our human footprint. One prominent Canadian example is a 2010 study by the Council of Chief Executives - Clean Growth 2.0: How Canada Can Be A Leader In Energy And Environmental Innovation. Then there is the World Business Council on Sustainable Development’s Vision 2050 and the OECD’s Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction. More recently, the World Economic Forum’s The Green Investment Report and the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2012 – which puts a significant focus the environment and understanding the risks posed by current reliance on fossil fuels -- also embrace the need for action

So, do business people care about the environment? Yes they do.

Can companies and business people make change to deal with complex issues alone? No, they can’t.

Is making business the villain the most effective way to problem solve? No.

Is there an opportunity and willingness to work with government and communities for a better future? Yes.

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