“The sustainable business circuit is becoming a jargon-filled parody” (cross post)

I know, life is short, and the last thing you need to read is another wafflethon by another green biz guru.

But wait, this one is different – it’s a corker. It’s by some guy called Brendon May “the founder of the Robertsbridge Group, a leading sustainability consultancy formed in 2010 by a number of prominent environmental thinkers.”

You should read the whole thing, here.

Here’s a taster…

From a movement to a racket?
Out there (by which I mean away form the sustainability business circuit) no one’s really listening. Consumers want things done simply for them, making the best environmental choice easy to identify. “Consumer behavior change,” that loathesome half-baked concept, won’t persuade the pension funds invested in Shell to get out. It won’t stop companies destroying Africa for new palm oil development or alter the flow of Chinese finance that is altering the world’s resource ownership. It also won’t stem the race for middle-class status that is well underway in emerging giant powerhouses such as Indonesia. It won’t stop temperature rises, and it won’t even elect governments that are vaguely interested in the future, except by accident, occasionally. We should bin it and banish it from our “narrative” (oops).

We’d do better to focus on where the big impacts lie — in the huge business-to-business transactions, the trading and commodities world, the financial institutions that must bear responsibility not just for economic collapse but ecological ruin, and the giant conglomerates that are slow to change, but vastly important when they do. I don’t hear much of this on Twitter or at conferences. What I hear is new terminology, new phrases for things that are blindingly obvious. I hear about how brands have great power and can make all the difference. They certainly have power: quite often a consumer boycott campaign leads to sales of whatever is being boycotted going up. Where does that leave your behavior change, eh?

Hat-tip to Gavin Elliott, the chair of the Stakeholder Steering Group. The interview with him conducted in December will finally get posted tomorrow….

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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1 Response to “The sustainable business circuit is becoming a jargon-filled parody” (cross post)

  1. gille liath says:

    Very surprised you agree with this, it makes no sense to me. In the end it’s consumers who decide how resources are allocated. Businessmen don’t give a stuff about environmentalism – if their priority wasn’t to make shedloads of money, they wouldn’t be in the position they are. So if consumers don’t care either, where is the mechanism for business to change?

    The only other possibility is government enforcing change – but no democratic govt will do that if the electorate don’t like it. So that leads us back to the same point. Ordinary people: thought they were your thang?

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