Tuesday, 25 March 2014

"How doing business sustainably can actually improve the bottom line."

We had 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' from Channel Four a couple of years ago:
Futures Forum: Climate Change: the film

We now have 'The Great Climate Change Gold Rush' from Radio Four this morning (to be repeated next Monday evening):

The most convincing evidence that someone really believes something is when they are willing to risk their own money on it. Businesses around the world are doing just that; betting that they can profit from the effects of climate change. Justin Rowlatt meets the entrepreneurs who believe there is money to be made from the world's changing climate.

BBC Radio 4 - The Great Global Warming Gold Rush

It could indeed be a question of entrepreneurship:

Entrepreneurs Propose Real Global Warming Solutions

March 16, 2010

Climate change is not a pollution problem. It is an energy use problem. Since economic activity drives growth in CO2 emissions, and governments are loath to pursue policies that limit the economic opportunities of its citizens, efforts to reduce carbon emissions must come through either improvement in energy efficiency or decarbonisation of our energy supply.

Fortunately, some policy entrepreneurs are proposing alternatives. They follow Gwyn Prins, of the London School of Economics, who observes: "Worthwhile policy builds upon what we know works and upon what is feasible rather than trying to deploy never-before implemented policies through complex institutions requiring a hitherto unprecedented and never achieved degree of global political alignment."

Daniel Sarewitz of Arizona State University writes in Nature: "A successful climate policy regime will match short-term costs with the real potential of short-term gains. These gains can come from reducing vulnerabilities to climate impacts, and increasing security and wealth generation from
energy-technology innovation. Both paths call on the government to do things that most people see as appropriate: to provide public goods and promote innovation. Both paths also allow climate change to be understood not as impending doom that requires deep sacrifice to ensure survival, but as an opportunity to continually improve society."

Ultimately, such ideas will break the status quo inertia.

Entrepreneurs Propose Real Global Warming Solutions

There is scepticism about how government regulation can help:

Entrepreneur: Capitalism Will Save World from Climate Crisis to Preserve Markets for iPads, Coke

DECEMBER 8, 2011

Democracy Now! attended the corporate-sponsored World Climate Summit in Durban that advocates a market approach to solving the climate crisis. One attendee, South African entrepreneur Jason Drew, called for the United Nations to step aside and let businesses and markets fix the problems caused by global warming. When asked why business would be interested in saving the people of the Maldives from catastrophic climate change, Drew responded, "Customers live there. It’s a business world. It’s capitalism. We need people to buy our goods... They all buy iPads, Coca-Cola, all the products we know. If they don’t exist anymore, the market’s gone."

Entrepreneur: Capitalism Will Save World from Climate Crisis to Preserve Markets for iPads, Coke | Democracy Now!

Britain's premier entrepreneur has backed the US premier innovator:

Richard Branson: Global warming deniers ‘get out of our way’


Virgin CEO Richard Branson said that those who are skeptical of man-made global warming should “get out of our way,” joining the ranks of CEOs lashing out against those opposed to business investments in “sustainability.”

Branson made his remarks in the wake of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s telling global warming skeptics to “get out of this stock” if they did not agree with the company’s green investment strategy. Cook made his comments after being confronted by a free-market activist who pressed him on putting the environment ahead of profitable investments.

“If you want me to do things only for [return on investment] reasons, you should get out of this stock,” Cook told a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Branson said that more businesses should follow Apple’s example and fight back against global warming skepticism.

“Tim [Cook] took a crucial stand: he told shareholders who oppose Apple’s commitment to sustainability to ‘get out of the stock’,” Branson wrote on his blog. “He also commented on how doing business sustainably can actually improve the bottom line. This is something we strongly believe in at The B Team, which is working hard to encourage better ways of doing business for the wellbeing of people and the planet. We wholeheartedly support him.”

“More businesses should be following Apple’s stance in encouraging more investment in sustainability,” Branson said. “While Tim told sustainability sceptics to ‘get out of our stock’, I would urge climate change deniers to get out of our way.”

Branson has been a huge proponent of renewable energy development. Recently, the business mogul launched plans to turn the Caribbean into a green energy powerhouse. The plan is to get islands of off use diesel generators as a main power source and onto renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

In February, Branson hosted a summit of “financiers, politicians, energy companies, lawyers and others on Moskito and Necker to work up a plan to ‘green’ the Caribbean, island by island,” reports the UK Guardian.

A new book has come out looking at the business opportunities:

polar bear in wildness area against sea landscape
Seven years ago, McKenzie Funk, an American magazine writer and journalist, was floating in the Arctic Ocean watching Canadian soldiers shoot the Northwest Passage. They were lined up three in a row on the deck of the frigate Montreal firing over the water, he writes in his new book Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming, which comes out tomorrow. "They went from semiautomatic to fully automatic and shot more. They switched to pistols and then shotguns and shot until the deck was littered with shells."
Funk was aboard the Montreal for Harper's, reporting a story on the melting Arctic and the resource boom it was then ready to unleash. The article he produced made some light of the Canadian "arctic sovereignty" mission he observed. (The soldiers, he writes in his book "were trying their hardest to be fierce", as if to make the world "understand that they were ready to fight for whatever riches the retreating ice revealed.") But writing it also sent him down a reporting rabbit hole.
Climate change, Funk discovered on that trip, wasn't only real, and for many, disastrous—it was also big business. After filing his story, he spent the next six years expanding on it. He traveled the world, meeting Dutch seawall builders, arctic oil profiteers and many others looking to make a buck off the warming planet. The result is Windfall (Penguin, $32.95) a travelogue-cum-business book that runs down the hustlers, entrepreneurs and massive global firms all betting their futures on climate change.
""The business community, they have a real vested interest in understanding reality. I was really surprised by how much the big oil companies had not just thought about climate change but also put it into their business calculations.""
One thing Funk didn't find much of in his reporting was any lingering sense in the business world that global warming might be a hoax. "The business community, they have a real vested interest in understanding reality," he says in an interview from his home in Seattle. "I was really surprised by how much the big oil companies had not just thought about climate change but also put it into their business calculations."
But resource companies aren't the only ones buying into—and looking to profit from—global warming. All around the world, in all kinds of industries, people are finding ways to make climate change work for them. In the U.S., to cite one example, insurance companies are devising new, more lucrative policies to keep wealthy clients safe in the face of extreme weather events. In one instance, Funk tagged along with a private fire crew hired by AIG to look after clients' homes during a wildfire. In Europe, where global warming is devastating the ski industry, Funk found an Israeli company converting technology designed for desalination into next generation snow makers. In New York, he met traders gambling on rising food prices by buying up farmland everywhere from Ukraine to South Sudan.
For Funk, though, this is not primarily a business story. It's a moral one. As he sees it, the people best positioned to profit from climate change are the ones most responsible for causing it—the already wealthy in the developed West. Those most likely to be hurt, meanwhile, are those in the global South who have done the least to make climate change a reality.  "That to me was the single most important thing I learned," he says.

Is There Opportunity in Global Warming? | PROFITguide.com

See also:
Futures Forum: Flooding in the West Country... and climate change

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