Written by Philippe Joubert, Founder and CEO of The Green Option
In this important year when we hope to arrive at a global consensus for combating climate change, I believe that no solution can or will be reached without the central involvement of the business community.
However, I believe that business leaders who believe that they can continue to operate as they always have done, and treat natural resources as free and unlimited are blind, cynical, or downright crazy.
Business as usual is dead.
In today’s world, resources are becoming scarce, levels of biodiversity are declining, pollution is growing and waste is piling up. The negative effects of GHG are already being felt. Climate change and its consequences are increasingly threatening populations, our future and that of the coming generations.
The irony, however, is that technology exists and funding is available to provide solutions. At the same time, governments go from one environmental discussion to another, but nothing really changes or at least not fast enough. The problem is that we cannot only depend on governments – they are bogged down by a plethora of complex political, economic and social stakes.
What we need is real leadership – we need courage and conviction, a sense of urgency and true solidarity. Given their sheer strength and means, companies and businesses should take on this battle: not just a handful of enlightened leaders, but all the economic stakeholders. The individual cannot do this alone; the overall system and infrastructure in which businesses operate must be updated to see the change we need.
The new business model must put people at the heart of business; paying for services rendered by nature while respecting it. We need to get back to the real purpose of business, which is to create value for all stakeholders, not just for financial investors and shareholders - and be an effective catalyst for collective action toward real sustainable world where people well being is enhanced. Companies have a responsibility to their customers, suppliers and employees and to their whole eco system, including respecting the natural environment.
We need to go from the current model with a lot of so called externalities to a model of true cost, true price, true value.
To adopt this new business model, Boards and non-exec directors must understand that their responsibilities are toward the company as a whole, not toward financial investors and shareholders only. They should act accordingly and this includes challenging and pushing the management in the right direction.
It is not because CO2 has no price that it has no cost. No price only means that we are sending the bill to the next generations.
We had good ancestors, let’s be good ancestors
Philippe Joubert will be speaking at the World Forum during Session A1: What conversations should CEOs be having with their boards and during the Closing Plenary on Day 1 of the World Forum on Natural Capital, Edinburgh 23-24 November, 2015
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