Tackling climate change is good for business …

… says General Motors who has just become the first car company in the US to sign the Climate Declaration. From their press release,

“We want to be a change agent in the auto industry,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs. “As our world faces issues like congestion and climate change, we are at the forefront in transforming the way we move, from building more efficient vehicles to partnering with car-sharing startup Relay Rides.”

The declaration was launched a month ago and so far 40 companies have signed up, including IKEA, Timberland, Intel, Unilever, Adidas and Loreal. They, along with dozens of other companies, think tackling climate change is an opportunity, rather than a threat.


5 thoughts on “Tackling climate change is good for business …

  1. Yes, I’ve always found the economic arguments against acting to prevent climate change as being quite weak. They refer to how it’s a waste of money and will cost trillions. Well firstly, providing energy is probably about 10% of the world’s economy. World GDP is about $80 trillion and so it seems obvious that it will cost trillions. We’ll just be replacing the trillions spent on fossil fuels with trillions spent on alternatives. As far as spending money is concerned, it’s normally a good thing. Creates jobs, develops new technologies, and drives economic growth. It often seems like the basis of the argument against doing anything about climate change is grounded in the neo-liberal philosophy which seems to think that any form of government spending is bad. I had hoped that the banking crisis had weakened this position, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

    1. Not forgetting that Hurricane Sandy alone caused damage estimated at US$50 billion; the IPCC — that organisation that the deniers love to hate unless they can misquote it to back their feeble arguments — made it clear in the 2011 ‘SREX’ report that the frequency of such storms is on the increase as we continue to load the climate dice in their favour. But then, that’s fine because all economic activity, good or bad, just increases the nonsensical measure that is ‘GDP’.

      I just hope that this latest move on the part of US industry isn’t just another greenwash effort. As a friend of mine pointed out the other day, there’s a subtle but crucial difference between saying “tackling climate is good for business” and saying “talking about tackling climate change is good for business.”

      1. Even a greenwash effort has some benefit. Much of the inaction on climate change is because people think the situation is hopeless or too hard. This sort of greenwash will go some way to changing the inertia, which is unfounded in my view. Of course, I’d like to see some real action as well.

  2. I wonder whether there’s also an element of what Adam Gopnik described in an article for the New Yorker a couple of years ago –
    “…people who don’t want high-speed rail are not just indifferent to fast trains. They are offended by fast trains, as the New York Post is offended by bike lanes and open-air plazas: these things give too much pleasure to those they hate. They would rather have exhaust and noise and traffic jams, if such things sufficiently annoy liberals. Annoying liberals is a pleasure well worth paying for. As a recent study in the social sciences shows, if energy use in a household is monitored so that you can watch yourself saving money every month by using less, self-identified conservatives will actually use and spend more, apparently as a way of showing their scorn for liberal pieties.”

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