Keeping Good Company
Here’s a short excerpt from my next book, The Green Executive, available for pre-order now:
The ﬂip side of joining positive organizations is true – if you want to appear environmentally enlightened, you need to distance yourself from bad company. Ever since Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book Silent Spring catalogued the effect of pesticides and herbicides on eco-systems, there has been a co-ordinated attack on the green movement by certain sections of industry. Whether the issue is persistent organic pollutants, the health effects of passive smoking or, more recently, climate change, there have always been elements who would prefer to invest in dubious tactics to maintain the status quo rather than change their ways.
For example, the industry-backed and disingenuously named Global Climate Coalition spent 13 years feeding exaggerated accounts of the uncertainties in climate change science to the press, despite their own scientiﬁc advisors protesting to the contrary. The group eventually withered and died in 2002 as members such as Shell, BP and GM decided to disassociate themselves. Associating with any such organizations will backﬁre on green efforts. The hyenas mentioned in Chapter 4 are particularly hard on any organization perceived to have be saying one thing while doing another.
Having a zero tolerance to industrial resistance to sustainability can be used to demonstrate commitment. In 2009 a number of high proﬁle companies including Nike and Apple left the US Chamber of Commerce in protest at the Chamber’s stance on President Obama’s climate change bill. By doing so they sent out a clear message to their customers, their peers and the government that they were taking the green agenda seriously.