Thursday, December 10, 2009

8 in 10 can’t think of a corporate leader in climate change

Is that because there isn’t one?

There was a lot of interesting information in a CBSR webinar that I attended yesterday, Climate change: Public Opinion, Corporate Action and Update from Copenhagen. I’ll break it down into some themes that are particularly relevant to the SRI community.

Chris Coulter of GlobeScan presented 7 key findings on climate change. The questions were asked in a number of countries, and Mr. Coulter often highlighted the Canadian results for us. Notably, the question ‘Which company is doing the most to address climate change?’ elicited no answers from 8 out of 10 Canadians, indicating a real void in this area. Of the responses that were given, the top 4 ‘companies’ were Toyota, Cascades, Ford and Greenpeace. Should Ethical Funds be top of mind here? I don’t know. But it certainly indicates a general lack of corporate leadership and communication, and a significant opportunity for somebody to step forward.

Looking further into this abyss, in answer to an open ended question 'What have you done to reduce your impact on climate change?' the number one answer, provided by 27% of people was ‘recycle’.

We need to formulate some clear and simple messages, and start getting the word out more effectively. Luckily, it appears that people are receptive, in that 78% of Canadians feel that investing in renewables, public transit, energy efficiency etc. will be good for the economy. (and perhaps, if we get that messaging right, for their portfolio).

Mr. Coulter concluded that Canadians believe in the economic upside of a greener world, but are very confused as to how it’s going to happen. “Companies need to talk about these issues. Raising it as an agenda item is also a way to show leadership.”
That would be a start.

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