Jonathan Dutton is Managing Director of CIPS Australia, the peak body for the procurement profession.
The re-arrival of carbon on the federal government agenda, firstly as a tax and, secondly, in time, as an emissions trading scheme, has had all manner of organisations reaching for their files from two years ago and dusting them off. Despite the long legal road yet to travel through Parliament and the Senate, carbon tax/emissions trading increasingly have an air of inevitability about them.
But business is not yet ready. They were going to be ready of course, but the failure to get the legislation through the Senate the first time, the shambles of Copenhagen in December 2009, and the pre-election promises to do nothing, soon killed the momentum. But, coming again it surely is – sooner or later. In any case, it is not just a compliance issue, nor even a risk issue. Simply, consumers (and employees for that matter) are demanding sustainable solutions.
Former NZ PM Helen Clark said at the CIPSA event in Sydney in June 2007 that consumers would in the future punish organisations that did not offer a sustainable solution. She was right then, and will still be right in future. Sustainability is set to become part of our marketing process due to customer needs to buy green. As Hillary Clinton said during the GFC – “the world’s shoppers are still buying green.” Organisations will have little option but to embrace carbon management and sustainability in general in the long run. Indeed they may even need to broaden their contribution to meet the even wider context of social responsibility.