At a time when many national economies are in the red, let’s put our energy into building a green economy.

I recently facilitated a lively discussion among green economy experts. We talked about how public policy can advance a green economy agenda.

One realization in the discussion was that as social and environmental issues have more influence on corporate performance, chief financial officers will become more responsible for advancing corporate sustainability. When sustainability moves into the CFO office, governments are likely to pay more attention.

The group also identified procurement and investment as two powerful drivers of corporate sustainability. And they noted that these are areas where government can play a role. For instance, the Greater London Authority (GLA) group of public sector organisations is working to embed responsible procurement across its spend of more than £3.4bn a year on goods and services essential to London.

These green economy experts saw the need to account for the role ecosystem services play in the economy. (Ecosystems provide services from which humans benefit. They include supporting services such as pollination and photosynthesis; provisioning services such as fresh water; cultural services such as recreation; and regulating services such as carbon storage and climate regulation.) They also identified the need to create incentives for closed-loop production and consumption.

As well, the group identified a need common to both political leaders and sustainability practitioners. They both need a public that cares about sustainability. And, to get there, they both need to tie environmental outcomes to social well-being. For example, elected officials mostly hear from constituents about social or economic issues like jobs or worker compensation coverage. Few constituents raise environmental issues as their top concern.

So, as our industries move to more sustainable business models, we need to identify the accompanying opportunities for quality-of-life improvements such as family-supporting jobs, cleaner air and more dependable water resources.

Brazil Anyone?

The Rio + 20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development takes place in Brazil next June. One of the two themes focuses on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. That’s one to watch.

Let’s all help create the shift. Let’s get out of red and nurture the green.


Coro’s Blog Topics

Blog

Published June 19, 2017

Vancity – a Force For Good

Vancity, Canada’s largest community credit union, has achieved the title of Canada’s Best Corporate Citizen for the second year in a row.

Published June 6, 2017

Accelerating Sustainability Visions for the Future

If you haven’t updated your sustainability or corporate social responsibility approach in the last few years, you are putting your company at risk.

Published April 28, 2017

Progressing Past the CSR Plateau

Corporate social responsibility is stuck. When it emerged on the scene 20 years ago, businesses and other stakeholders had high expectations for what a focus on CSR could deliver. But the reality is that neither business nor society are on track to enable nine billion people to live well within the boundaries of the planet by 2050 – let alone 2030.

Published March 10, 2017

Sea Change Ahead: Upgrade Your Sustainability Vision Story

If your sustainability strategy is three or more years old, time to chart a new course with a refreshed, ambitious Sustainability Vision.

Published February 10, 2017

Governance and Sustainability: The New Normal

Boards are the last great sustainability frontier. They set the sustainability tone at the top, which then cascades throughout the company.

2011-10-04

Advancing a Green Economy

At a time when many national economies are in the red, let’s put our energy into building a green economy. I recently facilitated a lively discussion among green economy experts. We talked about how public policy can advance a green economy agenda.
2011-06-16

Sustainability Leadership – Lessons from The Co-operators and a Shirtless Dancer

Q: Who is the most powerful sustainability catalyst – the leader or the follower? I say both play a critical role. Let me explain why and how.
2011-04-05

Wake up – the state of the planet is just as urgent as you think!

I feel an increasing sense of urgency about the state of our planet. Thank goodness I’m not alone. A lot of people my age and older realize things have to change, and fast. Many of us have invested much of our lives in trying to turn the tide; yet there is so much more to do.
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