Monday, July 11, 2005

BRC 17: More Business Leaders Calling for Action on Climate Change

From, an announcment that the business leaders that make up the G8 Climate Change Roundtable have issued a statement (in PDF). Their opening statement is unquivocal:
As leaders of major global companies representing a broad range of industries, we share the belief that climate change poses one of the most significant challenges of the 21st century. With linkages to other important issues, such as the need to ensure economic growth, alleviate poverty, and provide access to adequate supplies of energy, climate change is an issue that demands the attention of governments, business, and civil society throughout the world. We fully support the efforts of [UK Prime Minister Tony Blair] to elevate attention to the issue in the G8 process and welcome this opportunity to contribute.

It gets interesting as they state the "Key Principles" underlying their argument:
From a business perspective, we believe there are a few key principles that should guide future strategy for climate change mitigation:
• Policies and action should be based firmly on good science and rational economics.
• Policy frameworks that use market-based mechanisms to set clear, transparent and consistent price signals over the long term offer the best hope for unleashing needed innovation and competition.
• Solutions must be global -- participation of all major emitters is essential.
• Climate change mitigation must not be viewed in isolation from other highly important challenges, such as ensuring access to energy, expanding availability of clean water, alleviating poverty, and achieving economic growth in emerging markets.
• Undertaking a system-wide, integrated approach to the problem and its solutions is critically important – to identify where greatest leverage exists for mitigation from the beginning of the production cycle through to end-users and consumers.
With just a quick overview at this point, I'm liking what I'm seeing. At the same time, calls for "good science and rational economics" and "market-based mechnisms" can mean 1) true sustainable development, or 2) greenwashing of the highest order. It seems to me that many businesses are sincere in their efforts to take on the challenge of climate change, but can multinational corporations do what needs to be done if their structure itself is part of the problem? Does "global solutions" mean "one answer for everyone?" I'm really just asking here -- I'm interested to hear what you think.

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