In an Economic Intelligence Unit column, two associates of business school IMD lay out the argument that a “sustainability bubble” may have already burst after the collapse in economies and oil prices.
But the column argues that there is still “low-hanging fruit” to be had in emerging economies, where companies can benefit from partnerships that address climate change, sustainable food, human rights and public health.
For instance, climate change partnerships, through legislative action, can level the playing field for companies, thus accelerating corporate action on climate change.
However, the column notes, “Considerable incentives are required from stakeholders to justify putting in such a level of support, and that includes incentives from regulators. And this brings us to the really difficult conundrum. Whilst the change of administration in the United States brings hope for more involvement from this key player in the climate change debacle, we should remind ourselves that only one in four Americans currently think action to slow global warming as a ”very important’ issue.”
There may be other reasons to focus on sustainability. A recent report from A.T. Kearney showed that companies focused on sustainability outperformed their peers by 15 percent during the financial crisis.