Published 29 February 2016
Prof Christopher Wright, Convenor of the Balanced Enterprise Research Network, has contributed an article to The Guardian Australia, discussing how do business managers balance their climate change fears and the reality of the business world.
The emotional engagement with climate change is particularly relevant for those whose task is to make their companies more “sustainable”. Here, personal concerns about the environment run directly up against the competing logic of short-term profitability and shareholder value. This was highlighted with stark candour early on in our research by a sustainability adviser in a large Australian consulting firm who told us:
“I would say that most businesses’ efforts, probably with a genuine intent, are more about appearing to be environmental and reducing impact where possible where there’s a business case for doing so … because the best thing a business could do for the environment would be to shut down … But that’s clearly not a viable option.”
Many environmentally concerned managers thus operate in a conflicted space: they can advocate for greater corporate environmental sustainability but this must not threaten business growth.