As GreenBiz reports from the recent BSR (Businesses for Social Responsibility) conference in San Francisco, their interest lies in a combination of cost-cutting, customer-gaining/brand-building, and drive for innovation:
The top strategy related to climate change is energy efficiency, mentioned by 44 percent, and a large number of businesses see significant opportunities coming from lowering energy costs and/or other efficiencies (70 percent), improving stakeholder relationships (67 percent), driving innovation (65 percent) and strengthening credibility with consumers (65 percent).
When asked to choose actions that companies should take to rebuild public trust that was lost due to the economic crisis, 39 percent said that companies should create innovative products and business models designed for sustainability, and 38 percent said companies should measure and demonstrate positive social and environmental impacts. Only 4 percent said companies should reform executive compensation.
So in sum, climate change solutions just make good business sense.
Every time I read stories like this, I think about where we were just 10 years ago. Back in the mid 90's, if you'd have told me how big sustainability would be right now -- that there would be corporate sustainability officers and networks of GreenEverything websites (biz, design, building, climate, computing...) -- I'd have figured you took too many drugs in the 70's.
In spite of all the gloom and doom we hear, we've really come a long, long way. Reminding myself of just how far we've come in the last 10 years is the root of my optimism for what we can achieve moving forward.