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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Monday, September 1, 2014

Strategic CSR - Climate change

The trouble with climate change is that we cannot agree what to do about it. One of the reasons for this is because there is a large chunk of the population that is apathetic about the approaching apocalypse. As the book review in the url below notes, a mixture of apathy and the scale of the problem leads to a lack of meaningful action:
"The changes occurring in Earth's climate appear to present an unfair fight, between the majestic forces of Nature and we minuscule humans, scurrying to protect ourselves. … Once you have contemplated the mind-boggling variety of bets that nations, businesses and politicians are placing based on predicted global temperatures, the choice of which gas-hybrid SUV to buy will seem trivial."
Worse than apathy, however, is that there are many people who stand to benefit from a deteriorating environment:
"Bad news for flood-stricken Bangladeshis, it turns out, is good news for Greenland's separatists, hoping to break free of Denmark and profit from an Arctic mineral boom. Russians are taking their lead from President Vladimir Putin, who has observed that the warming of his country means 'we shall save on fur coats.' Melting sea ice and permafrost would expand Russia's agricultural land, improve its fishing stocks and make it easier to extract minerals from Siberia. A Chinese company has signed a lease to farm 5% of Ukraine, some 7.5 million acres, to grow food for its home market."
The money-making schemes are varied, but all have a common theme—this is happening, so we might as well make money from it:
"Who knew that Israelis were the masters of artificial snow-making? It turns out to be a lucrative byproduct of their experience desalinating seawater to irrigate Israeli farms. Now their machines pump snow all over the Alps and will be in action at Sochi for the Winter Olympics. In Holland, engineers are rubbing their hands at the prospect of bringing a version of the dam system that protects Rotterdam to post-Sandy New York. And in Seattle, an ex-Microsoft scientist is scheming to pump sulfur into the stratosphere to shield polar ice from the sun."
And, of course, those best positioned to profit from climate change are the same actors who got us into this mess (i.e., us):
"It turns out that climate change is rather like the financial crisis. Those who may have caused it with their emissions are likely to profit most from it, and the gulf between the world's rich, who can protect themselves from its worst effects, and the poor, who cannot, will only widen. It is an ugly truth, but one well worth recognizing as we ponder what do if Maine turns into Tuscany and the Marshall Islands vanish beneath the sea."
Happy Labor Day!
David Chandler & Bill Werther
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Of Seers and Profiteers
By Philip Delves Broughton
January 29, 2014
The Wall Street Journal
Late Edition – Final