December 2011

Date Archive

Paul HohnenOriginally published in The Guardian Sustainable Business Blog.

In this blog I would like to take a slightly light-hearted approach to a very serious subject: the different strategic approaches that companies have developed in response to the challenge of sustainable development.  

This is prompted by the interest expressed in my last piece (the taxonomy on personal attitudes to sustainability) and by hearing someone comment – in response what they saw as a company’s bogus sustainability claims – that the ‘Emperor has no clothes’.

In 2011, what does a company have to do to be ‘best dressed’ in the sustainability stakes?

When someone states on arrival at Durban’s 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) that “we must be realistic about expectations for a breakthrough, or even for our success (…): a comprehensive and binding agreement [on emission reductions] may be beyond our reach for now”, it is of course not a very good portent – even less when it is said by UN’s General Secretary Ban Ki-moon.

His words are not only worrying because they reflect the poor expectations on the negotiations from someone who is supposed to play a key role in them. His words are especially worrying because of the last two – which lead to wonder, if not ‘for now’, when?