Business Does Not Care About Climate Change
As a writer, I want to have a compelling headline, and the one above doesn’t fit that standard. But, right now, it’s the best I’ve got because it is exactly about reality, not always pretty.
In our reality, business, i.e. capitalism, is the actual driver of everything we do. And no one in business gives a shit about the future. Yes, I know, Patagonia. They are a wonderful and very profitable company, but…who else? I was involved in one of the first B corporations established in New York State. B stands for benefits and the designation was there to highlight giving back to society.
Or at least not making things worse.
We had great aspirations but it didn’t work. My partners went on to make millions and I went back to writing (no millions, yet).
I noticed a pattern. A lot of talk about things like being emission-free by 20xx. Even as a climate observer, I never put that date on my calendar to check on them. And neither has anyone else.
It’s bullshit. Make a pledge, and then go back to business as usual.
To be honest, there is some reality in this. We are gradually improving things in the way that capitalist economies do, by finding a way to make them profitable. Look at cars- EVs are taking over the market and they are extremely profitable for car companies, or will be when economies of scale are achieved.
There are, obviously, big businesses actively fighting the idea of change related to climate. You know, Exxon Mobil and their competitors, who have known about it for at least forty years and saw it as a profit center.
May they rot in hell. Except…
They were right and all of us kept buying and burning oil and gas. Burn, baby, burn!
There is a thing in public companies called fiduciary responsibility. It is the idea that management is beholden to investors, first and foremost. And investors, by nature, want profits, ‘return on investment’.
Fixing the world is seldom seen as profitable. But that is changing, slowly.