Sustainability: The Corporate Climate Overhaul

Sustainability: The Corporate Climate Overhaul

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There is an understandable tendency to put problems of the ‘global commons’— climate change or biodiversity loss, for instance — in the hands of intergovernmental institutions. However, thus far these bodies have failed miserably. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), born at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 years ago this month, has been unable to get its signatory governments to arrest greenhouse-gas emissions. And the Convention on Biological Diversity (the UNFCCC’s non-identical twin, also born at that 1992 meeting) and its signatory governments have collectively failed to slow the loss of biodiversity.

These failures point to the need to recognize the key role of the private sector in determining economic direction and resource use globally. For effective climate-change or biodiversity solutions, members of the corporate world need to be brought to the table as ethical stewards of shared planetary resources, and not, as they have been so far, as self-interested exploiters of common wealth.

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