Thursday, March 6, 2008

A change in the climate: credit crunch makes the bottom line the top issue

We've tried to stay ahead of this curve by paraphrasing Chairman Mao:
This is probably a good place to mention some of the thinking behind this blog.
Although one of the foci of the blog is alternative/renewable energy, it is not exclusive of the wider world.
To paraphrase Chairman Mao, "The markets are the sea in which cleantech/greentech swims". Everything is connected and being able to make the connections is one of the talents/skills/gifts that capitalism rewards, sometimes handsomely....Source
We began making this point in August '07 when the market started exposing the frauds and fools on Wall Street. As usual Warren Buffett explains it better:

"It's only when the tide goes out that you discover who's been swimming naked"
Here's the list of our Mao refs.

Here's the story from The Guardian:

A business briefing by Asda would normally be an occasion to whet the appetite of environmental analysts along with financial ones as the WalMart subsidiary has never passed up an opportunity to bang the drum about its latest green or sustainability initiative.

But at last week's trading update in the City, neither a 46-page strategy document nor an accompanying hour's talk from the chief executive, Andy Bond, brought a reference to the subject. The discussion was all about "profitable growth", "staff retention" and "customer focus".

BP, meanwhile, is digging up Canadian tar sands and considering the sale of its renewable-power business. The oil group says its priority is to get its profits and share price back on track.

This shift was mirrored on a grander scale at Davos in January. The World Economic Forum was meant to give a leading role to climate change but coverage of the events was completely dominated by discussions about what was happening on Wall Street.

Environmentalists and other campaigners fear that sustainability and wider corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues are falling off the boardroom agenda as businesses tighten their belts in the face of turbulent stockmarkets, the credit crunch and a looming economic slowdown. And they worry that CSR could be seen by business as a fad whose time has come and gone.

Hannah Griffiths, corporates campaigner at Friends of the Earth, says her organisation had always argued that regulation was needed because when the crunch came, profits would come first. "We always felt that companies do not take CSR as seriously as they claim to and voluntary action does not work.">>>MORE