Make our planet sustainable first!
Ensuring a sustainable planet is not just a moral obligation or about reinforcing stereotypes but about facing complex realities and designing effective solutions – Global Pledge for World Company Day 2015
The devastating effects of global warming and over industrialisation is clear to any sensible business leader. There may be some who are in denial and such individuals deserve universal condemnation. But the vast majority of business leaders can see the rising costs to their businesses when their air is polluted due to forest fires set off intentionally to clear the land or when waters are so polluted that it costs more to gain access to what is considered a universal right. Still it is hard to escape the stereotype that businesses especially multinational firms are often branded as the culprit for exploiting the environment. In his latest encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis asserted that:
“Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change.”
The encyclical as a whole is an inspiring initiative but the statement above is unfortunate because it oversimplifies what is essentially a complex issue. In practice, richer and wealthier nations such as the European Union, US and Japan tend to have far more developed standards, policies and technology to regulate or promote a greener planet. It is poorer nations like the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Indonesia which lacks the capacity or resources to ensure sustainable practices in their economic development. Having said this, large-scale violations to the environment still happens in the richer nations but the enforcement is far more effective compared to those in the developing world.
You also tend to hear of global companies like Apple, Google or Hitachi on how they are rolling out green products, green headquarters or new technologies to save more energy and become more sustainable in their practices, less so from companies in the developing world. In sum, richer countries and companies are better equipped to go green and many are doing so voluntarily as it makes good economic sense plus this is increasingly demanded by a more educated workforce and customer base. Civil society groups such as Greenpeace are also allowed to thrive or are tolerated in the developed Western countries. But try and repeat the same provocative practices and approaches in some developing countries and these civil society groups will either be arrested or be silenced through extra-judicial means.
The other reason why it does not make sense for richer and companies to mask the problem is because the global warming industry or anything related to the green business is now a USD$1.5 trillion industry. It is therefore not surprising, to see global giants such as Schneider Electric or Philips tout their green credentials because it helps the bottom line. So the time has come to stop using broad strokes to condemn companies but to ask, what effective solutions can be designed to overcome complex issues and save our planet.
For this year’s World Company Day Pledge, we urge our signatory companies to commit to the following actions:
- Share workable green solutions so as to inspire other companies to emulate and do the same.
- Share know-how with companies who do not have the expertise to implement a green programme
- Share data on the return of investment for any green initiative to encourage adoption.
This coming November as the world’s nations gather in Paris to debate about the urgent steps needed to save our planet; we may not be able to solve the political impasse to develop a sensible global solution. But as entrepreneurs, as business leaders, we do not need to wait for government and religious leaders to ask us to act. It is a sensible and essential step to take. Now is the time for concrete and urgent action. Let us lead by our actions to enable a sustainable planet through daily work!
Happy World Company Day 2015
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About World Company Day
World Company Day was launched on 15th of August 2013 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam at Shape the World Conference as an annual day for Companies who seek to shape a better world through daily work.
Join 200 other global companies such as Hong Kong Broadband Network, Salad Stop and become a signatory here: www.worldcompanyday.org
Today, companies shape every aspect of our lives. From creating opportunities, influencing choices, managing resources of the earth, the way business is conducted can and should be for the greater good. This is why it is important to have an annual day to celebrate the good that companies are doing all around the world and encourage others to do the same. We invite all companies to join us and henceforth commit to building companies that will shape a better world and to advocate the United Nations to set aside 15th of August as World Company Day.
World Company Day’s Purpose
Raising consciousness about the role companies plays in shaping a better world and enhancing collaboration to bring about greater good.
We call on the world’s companies to:
1) Build a more collaborative and meaningful culture in our companies
2) Treat customers and suppliers as partners in shaping a better world
3) Create products and services that will add meaningful value to society
For more information firstname.lastname@example.org