Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Every little helps

Yesterday I met Ian Berry, past president of the National Speakers Association of Australia. Ian speaks and advises companies on management and leadership, based on his long experience at senior level in major corporates. He’s concerned, too, with the future of businesses. Climate change is a key issue, but he sees it as part of the wider sustainability picture, which also includes resource depletion, energy security and corporate social responsibility. In his view business has the key to our future survival. He believes that businesses and pressure groups will form alliances and take actions long before governments get round to doing anything – and businesses truly have the power to make significant changes.

Today we hear that Tesco is giving £25m to Manchester University to set up the Institute for Sustainable Consumption. It’s easy to accuse the retailers – and others – of riding the green bandwagon just to keep up with their competitors, but £25m is serious money and once the Institute is established it will surely be difficult to ignore it. And if I heard Terry Leahy correctly, the ultimate objective at Tesco is an 80% carbon reduction.. That’s far more than the target the government is set to miss. It will be interesting to see which other organisations will set themselves similar challenges.

For the moment, the prize for leadership goes to Tesco.

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