It’s not business as usual
With the Rt Hon Tony Blair here in New Zealand to talk about climate change, the media have been focusing on the topic a bit more. Campbell Live did a story on it tonight. Lucire has a page in its next print issue on the topic, quoting Al Gore—only normal for a magazine that promotes the UNEP. Even a phone call I had today with environmental advocate and model Summer Rayne Oakes got on to the subject. It is truly in the Zeitgeist, where it really needs to stay if we are to do anything about it.
In Peter Begley’s Business Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility, his latest post highlights how the United States is lagging behind other countries in getting its act together. Perhaps it is no surprise, given the Bush administration’s general unwillingness—at least until the President’s State of the Union address this year—to encourage environmental consciousness. The problem is only going to get worse unless some drastic changes are made, the US and Europe are the two greatest offenders with greenhouse gas outputs.
This matters beyond the usual reasons. For a start, companies that don’t look after the environment face consumer backlashes. This is a rising trend—perhaps not apparent immediately, but it is happening. Certainly it hasn’t subsided since I became interested in these causes in the late 1990s. Consequently, these companies become poorer investments long term, something which an article cited by Peter emphasizes:
Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a group whose members control a total of $3 trillion in investment capital [says,] ‘When Cinergy and American Electric Power are tackling this issue, and Sempra and Dominion Resources are not, that should be a red ﬂag to investors.’
Thanks to branding, it is becoming easier to identify environmental offenders.
Read Peter’s entry here, and the Ceres report he and The New York Times cite here. Posted by Jack Yan, 08:43
Thank you for the link(s) and your continued support Jack — I really appreciate it!
To add a bit to the issue of companies that are, or are not, pursuing strong CSR initiatives, such as strong environmental standards, and their related long-term investment value, I recommend listening to a recent debate between Jeffrey Hollender and Dr.David Vogel (the link to the audio file appears toward the end of the press release).
The debate is a bit over an hour but well worth it if you are interested in Corporate Social Responsibility or Socially Responsible Investing (the majority of the debate is about the former). At one point, perhaps midway, Vogel and Hollender discuss the value of Socially Responsible Investing and if there is a difference between the returns on companies with strong CSR initiatives or not. Both make strong contrasting arguments though I think Hollender's (that CSR makes a difference in long-term value) is a bit more convincing.
# posted by Peter Begley: 3/28/2006 05:52:00 PM
You’re welcome, Peter, and thank you for the latest link! I might have to download it and listen in chunks given my schedule. At this point, I believe in there being returns from being socially responsible, including smaller gains in sales to further-reaching programmes such as Hewlett Packard’s e-initiatives.Post a Comment
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