Business Must Learn That Sustainable Development Is More Than Just Carbon Accounting and Recycling

Article excerpt

Very few people would argue against pursuing the principles of sustainable development but it's not always easy for businesses, big or small, to take the plunge. We live in a scary world. Nothing is like it used to be. There is a strong temptation to throw the towel in, go back to bed and wait for whatever will happen to happen.

It is almost a cliche to say that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing mankind. Even if the scientific detail eludes us, it isn't too great a leap of faith to realise that spewing out ever-increasing volumes of gases into the atmosphere isn't doing any good. We should all be putting pressure on politicians, the media and each other to consider things like:

setting targets for greenhouse gases and making sure they're met

introducing personal carbon rationing

ensuring houses are built to standards such as the German "passivhaus"

banning incandescent bulbs

asking those with patio heaters and floodlights in their gardens to search their consciences

providing a basket of choices of alternative energy sources

promoting wind farms, even if they may spoil our NIMBY views

exchanging the gas grid for a hydrogen network

creating a public transport network that's faster and cheaper than the car.

However, there are other things to tax the mind. What about the starving millions and their dire existence? While water shortage is not exercising the mind of Middle England this year there were fears of drought in the South East not so long ago. The possibility of water wars has moved out of the realms of fiction. And what about the disgruntled have- nots who have nothing to lose by waging senseless revenge on our way of life? Closer to home, Asbos and gangs of "hoodies" killing the man on the street reminds us that all is not well with society either. …