Posting in Environment
Concern about water availability and quality has also risen appreciably over past two years, a new poll suggests.
SAN FRANCISCO - Could people possibly care more about other people than about pollution? Human rights surpassed climate change as the top priority among companies concerned about corporate sustainability and businesses, according to new research released this week by consulting and research firm BSR. The significance of water conservation and management issues also jumped dramatically from 2010 to 2011, the research reveals.
The data, part of the BSR/GlobalScan State of Sustainable Business Poll 2011, shows that there has been a gradual increase in the influence of human rights concerns as a business social responsibility priority since 2009. Currently, 65 percent of poll respondents cite this as a priority, compared with 59 percent in 2010. The number of BSR poll respondents who selected climate change remain unchanged at 63 percent for both 2011 and 2010.
Executives for BSR and research firm GlobeScan, which fielded the research, said the data reflects almost 500 responses from approximately 300 unique companies.
There was a noticeable jump in the number of respondents selecting water availability/quality issues as a significant priority. During 2011, 54 percent listed this as a key priority, up from 47 percent in 2010.
During a briefing about the poll results during the BSR Conference 2011 here, BSR President and CEO Aron Cramer said the research shows that despite the stagnant economic recovery, businesses remain focused and committed to their corporate social responsibility programs.
However, the data also shows that these ideals still sit somewhat outside the full attention of senior management and still need to be more tightly integrated into core operations. Approximately two-thirds of the poll respondents said that integration of sustainability into core business operations is their most important leadership challenge over the next 12 months.
When I spoke with Cramer before the BSR conference this week, here's how he put it: "When resources are at a premium, efficiency matters most." He also noted: "Our whole economy is based on more, more, more. We think the economy should be based on better, better, better."
Increasingly, businesses are being called upon to provide leadership roles on social and sustainability matters, Cramer said. This is not only because public trust in corporate "agendas" has been fading and they need to reverse that perception-- as evidenced vividly by the Occupy Wall Street -- movement, but also because the policymakers in many cases aren't responding quickly enough.
"Businesses' role in society are going to be undermined if they aren't taking sustainability and corporate responsibility seriously. ... Businesses look around and say, 'National governments aren't going to solve this, we've got to get on with it," he said.
Other posts from BSR Conference 2011:
Nov 2, 2011
The headline seems designed to provoke while the article itself is quite good--it almost makes me wonder if someone besides Heather wrote the headline since it matches so poorly. I mean, the essence of the article for me was the following quote: "Businesses??? role in society are going to be undermined if they aren???t taking sustainability and corporate responsibility seriously. ??? Businesses look around and say, ???National governments aren???t going to solve this, we???ve got to get on with it,??? he said." Too bad the headline didn't reflect this summary statement.
[continued...] Only energy can recycle waste. Only energy can create better water management schemes. Only energy can improve standards of living. Yes, oil and natural gas will eventually run out. But most sensible people are now waking up to the fact ($20bn dollars too late) that a bizarre combination of windmills and solar is not going to be able to provide a viable (or environmentally friendly) solution. What greenies can't bear to hear is that the so-called 'energy crisis' will actually be solved by the market in the usual way. Look what is already happening: As oil becomes less easily available, shale gas is coming on stream. So that's why greenies now suddenly hate shale gas, fabricating all sorts of scare stories about a technology that is actually mature, safe and available. And shale gas will be complemented by nuclear power. Modern nuclear technology is ultra safe and clean. Because a nuclear power plant occupies a tiny number of acres, it is actually far more environmentally friendly than a wind or solar farm. And around the corner will come a new generation of nuclear plants based on thorium fuel with the promise of limitless power and practically no radioactive waste. Together shale gas, modern nuclear, and thorium-nuclear will see us through the one or two hundred years until nuclear fusion, the ultimate energy source, finally becomes available. Our great grand children are going to have a fantastic future: Zero pollution. Freedom from disease and malnutrition. Hugely improved living standards for all. They will look back on this little early 21st century CO2 spat with wry amusement, wondering how so many societies all over the world could have been fooled so easily by a bunch of earnest pseudo-scientists playing a shabby little shell game.
"Sustainability, CO2 and Climate Change...?" This muddled phrase sums up all that is wrong about the current resource debate. The false religion that preaches that man-made CO2 is the root of all environmental evil has deflected well meaning people (and surely that is almost all of us?) away from addressing the true environmental challenges, namely how to sustain our environment in the face of material resource limitations. By concentrating on the wholly imagined evils of man-made CO2 we have been guided unwittingly down a dark alley that has turned into a dangerous cul-de-sac. We have been deceived by the climate science mafia and their special-interest fellow travellers into thinking that there is a problem where there is not. Now that it is at last becoming clear to ordinary citizens that man-made CO2 is NOT the significant evil that they had been led to believe it was, there is a renewed hope that the focus will now move on to the really important question, namely how do we preserve our material environment responsibly, rationally and scientifically from the dangers of resource limitation? These are much more complicated questions to answer and they will need much more effort to resolve that just relying on the matra that everything will be sorted if we just concentrate on eliminating man-made CO2, a trace gas of which the man-made element in the atmosphere is around 0.012% and which has signally failed to cause any sign of alarming temperature rise these last 30 years or so since the scare began. The real irony of this sorry story is that the solution to the world's material resource problems lies in the very commodity that the greenies have fought the hardest to have restricted, namely ENERGY.
Things that are closer to us almost always have more priority. This has been proved over and over again. Take authority for example. The closer a figure of authority (boss) is to a worker the more the worker actually works. The more immediate problems in our life seem, the more attention they get. We are like rats in a maze always looking for the simplest way out. That is also why we will perish as a species - some problems will not be fixable by the time humans realize they need fixing. Some things have a point of no return.
...especially when you use "climate change", CO2, and pollution interchangeably. The CO2 debate has diluted "pollution" in the "sustainability" lexicon. Re-separate the two, and I suspect the results might be a bit different.
...that "environmentalism" is typically something a society only addresses long after it's moved beyond sustenance. People are happy to vote and pay for all kinds of "environmental" issues once they've moved far enough up that latter. But once they start sliding back down, their concerns get much more personal, and they lose interest in the big picture. This has always been my warning to Progressives, who's agenda is so tightly wound with the more radical environmental agendas; We will only be able to "invest" in improving environmental quality as long as the vast majority remain relatively affluent. The worst possible thing that could happen for the environment is if we were to become poor. "Poor" people couldn't care less. Look at Eastern Europe, for example, which barely made it past sustenance during the cold war; the better part of the region is a toxic waste dump.