Our first blog, How Sustainability Can Save Business, reframes the common purpose of traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practitioners -- that of "saving the environment." Our premise: Given the social and economic frameworks and institutions of our society, more can be accomplished (and faster) by viewing sustainability as an economic opportunity relevant to business, compared to viewing it as an environmental initiative in isolation of business. Therefore the goal of "saving the environment" may be more appropriately framed as "saving business." Our perspective is pragmatic; that the worthy purpose of "saving the environment" is destined to be ineffectual, and at best immaterial, if environmental initiatives are pursued in isolation of the economic engines and structures of our society -- that is, capitalism, business, government and the active participation of other organizations and individuals within this framework. It is within this framework that companies are applying a central guiding principle to their business sustainability strategies -- "derive economic benefits from improved environmental and social outcomes." Why? Because it delivers results. We do not argue the desired outcome of healthy people and a healthy planet, and an economic framework that includes a broader social purpose. Indeed, we align on these values. After all, Jim was leader of the Green Party of Canada and Tyler used to earn his living as a conservation … [Read more...] about How Much Can Business Influence the Environment?
Canada needs a "national approach to climate policy and carbon pricing." Think that this is the advice of some environmental group? Then think again; this is the urging of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) in a policy paper: Clean Growth 2.0: How Canada can be a Leader in Energy and Environmental Innovation. The paper highlights how Canada can build a more competitive economy and a more sustainable society while ensuring adequate public finances to fund Canadian's way of life. It calls for the federal government, in partnership with the provinces and territories, to develop a national energy framework, specifically to "develop clean energy solutions and position Canada for leadership internationally." And, contrary to current inaction, the CEOs urge Canada to take the lead in establishing a bilateral energy and climate accord with the United States to incorporate Canadian interests, and secure greater cross-border collaboration on energy, climate change policy, technology and trade. The CCCE stresses that a bilateral approach does not mean that nothing can be done until there is clarity on US action; rather, it argues that we must begin to prioritize areas for coordination and ensure that our policy is adaptable to the eventual US system. One thing is certain; during the interim, we cannot expect the Americans to adequately represent Canadian interests in our absence. Proffering five strategic recommendations, the CCCEs argue that a national … [Read more...] about Will Canada Take Action on Energy?
Placing a shadow price on carbon can help a company cut costs, while dramatically reducing its risk and exposure to rising energy prices and a price being put on carbon. One of the roles of corporate strategy function is to assist the CEO and board in managing strategic uncertainty and risk. Knowing that it's impossible to accurately forecast future events, one of the jobs of corporate strategy is to develop scenarios of potential future realities, strategies for these scenarios, and a portfolio of options that may be exercised in the event that a scenario comes into being. Royal Dutch Shell is perhaps the best known example of a company using scenario planning to prepare for future events, beginning in the 1970s. Shell's scenario planning prepared it for the first oil crisis in 1973 -- when the price of oil quadrupled in just 18 months. Most recently Shell has been using scenario planning for developing strategies mitigating the effects of climate change. The greater the value of resources and time invested in a strategic commitment -- such as developing a new oil field or pipeline -- the greater the value of scenario planning is to an organization. But a firm doesn't have to be a multinational oil company to get value from managing the risk that is implicit in any business strategy. Planning for a Carbon-constrained Economy Placing a price on carbon of anywhere from $10 to $80 a tonne can have a profound effect on business planning. It immediately … [Read more...] about The Benefits of Carbon Shadow Pricing