Business has a key role to play in addressing climate change

By 25/04/2019Blog

Charles Wookey, Blueprint CEO 

As the last week of protests by Extinction Rebellion (XR), the recent schools strikes and the hard hitting messages delivered by Greta Thunberg to MPs this week have highlighted, the world faces a catastrophic threat from unchecked climate change. Public scrutiny, and the challenge provided by informed citizenship, is a vital way in which society can hold business, and governments, to account to meet their responsibility to protect the natural world and conserve finite resources.

All businesses need to take urgent action to address the environmental challenges we all face. We welcome the decision by 24 UK business leaders to voice their support for the XR wider agenda in their letter to the Times and their new project XR Business. It is important that the CBI has voiced its support as well. Going forward, it is essential that a broad movement develops around engaging with the business community, with businesses actively taking part in initiating change and calling on their peers to do likewise. Every leader who makes a statement has the potential to inspire more to feel able to join them.

Many businesses support and are committed to playing a role in delivering the transformation XR are asking for, but in many cases much of this effort is limited to better reporting and taking action to manage financial or reputational risk. This is important but there is much more businesses can do by acting quickly and decisively to move beyond minimising harm to actively seeking to have a more positive impact. They need to innovate – for example creating more products and services which encourage and enable their customers to make their own commitments to contributing to a sustainable future.

For more on Blueprint perspective read our earlier blog Calls for climate action from across society

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