The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Strategic CSR - Media

Much media attention is driven by stories that conform to pre-existing stereotypes. If a particular story fits a particular expectation, for example, it is easy for the media to slot it into a running narrative and easier for the audience to react in the way to which they have been conditioned. In relation to climate change, the prevailing consensus is that politicians are failing to act in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that the environment is rapidly deteriorating. This perspective appeared to be confirmed when prominent media coverage was given to decisions in Australia and Japan, last year, to cut back sharply on previous commitments that had been made to curtail carbon emissions:
“When Tony Abbott became Australia’s prime minister in 2013, almost his first acts were to abolish the country’s Climate Commission and to promise the repeal of a carbon tax. Soon after, Japan scrapped plans to cut carbon emissions by 25% by 2020, citing its post-tsunami shutdown of nuclear-power plants. Such actions in large countries—Japan is the fifth biggest carbon emitter; Australia the 17th—give the impression that the world as a whole is stepping away from environmental rules and laws.”
Contrary to this perception, the article in the url below presents a significantly more encouraging story about legislative action on this contentious issue:
“In a review published on February 27th of national climate legislation in 66 countries, accounting for 88% of carbon emissions, [GLOBE International, a group of lawmakers, and the Grantham Research Institute of the London School of Economics] calculated that almost half of their parliaments passed climate-change or energy-efficiency acts in 2013. Only Japan and Australia went the other way.”
Notably, the report comes with qualifiers:
“The review considered only the quantity of legislation, not its quality. It says nothing about whether laws are implemented or effective.”
Nevertheless, the fact that legislatures the world over are publicly recognizing climate change as a fact that requires action in response constitutes a level of engagement that is worth noting—particularly so since the view from the U.S. is that politicians often favor faith over science and put personal short-term interest over the long-term health and wellbeing of their country and planet:
“The survey … shows that the world’s stock of climate laws has risen steeply, from fewer than 50 in 2000 to almost 500 in 2013.”
The planet is not necessarily a safer place all of a sudden, but the report suggests that it might become safer … one day.
Take care
David Chandler & Bill Werther
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Law on Mother Earth
March 1, 2014
The Economist
Late Edition – Final