Sustainable Business Will Drive the New Economy, Not Trump

trump-towerLike most of you, I’m still trying to get my head around Donald Trump’s victory. While his rise may have been predictable and should have been foreseeable after years of economic and cultural stagnation in the heartland, it doesn’t sting any less. And now we all have to live with it.

But you already know that.

As critical optimists, it’s imperative that we find the opportunities and lessons hidden inside of any disaster. TriplePundit strongly believes there are many ways to move forward in the wake of this election. The good news is that no one is more poised to to drive forward a sustainability agenda than the business community. Business, with almost no help from the government, has already begun to take proactive action on climate change, drive a clean energy transition, stand up for the need for a diverse workforce and to take action on many other issues we all care about – not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s the profitable thing to do.

One of the main reasons TriplePundit exists is to make the business case for action on sustainability. We make this case on moral grounds and practical grounds, but we also make it based on good old fashioned capitalism. Doing good is good business.  Take a look at what we and our corporate partners have accomplished over the past year or so:

To top off your cup of optimism, don’t forget that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. The majority of Americans support the kinds of positive changes she stood for, regardless of her faults. For that matter, the majority of Trump voters are not racist misogynists who think the earth is flat. They’re mostly people irritated by a government that ignored them. At their core they want a prosperous and meaningful life and a bright future for their children. Business need to be prepared to answer their needs. We need to be prepared to answer their needs.

To sum it up, we still have a lot of work cut out for us, and as regular TriplePundit contributor Henk Campher is fond of saying, “there are still a lot of companies out there selling snake oil.” Call them the Trumps of the business world. As we mentioned in our newsletter this morning, NRG’s Bruno Sarda shared the following with his team:

Now our work is all the more important. If government won’t lead, and will possibly [impede our efforts at] a sustainable future, business will need to lead the way even more than it has to date. This is our time. It won’t be easy, but we can’t shy away from the importance of our work. We need to make an unavoidable case for the imperative of sustainable business and a sustainable energy future.

I also talked to Aman Singh, well known journalist and sustainability communications advisor and my co-chair at the upcoming Companies vs. Climate Change conference who told me the following:

As a professional, I feel lucky that I work in the corporate sector. As someone famously said at COP21, many of us have realized that we can have more scalable impact by driving more systemic business decisions. Business can be disruptive. Business can be proactive. Business can search for morality when forced to. And business can drive change because business feeds our stomachs. And that is what I hope business leaders will continue to focus on despite a leadership change in American politics. That we can continue to push uphill for what we know is right and necessary to promise our future generations resilient economies and societies without regulatory support if that’s what it takes. Because together we have another right to vote – as business professionals.”

Sadly, Donald Trump is not a real businessman. He’s a simple con artist, likely as bewildered at his recent success as he is emboldened. The con-job will soon become obvious and Trump’s influence will begin to whither, hopefully with minimal collateral damage. Or maybe he’ll evolve. We have no choice but to heed Hillary Cilnton’s request to greet him with an open mind, but we will be doing so with a very critical eye.

One thing we have a lot more faith in is the ability of the motivated and forward-thinking people in business to continue pushing for positive change in the world. We aim to spend the coming years helping that happen.

(image: PixaBay)

 

 

 

 

Corporate Responsibility

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Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

3 responses

  1. Nick, there are thousands of governments in the United States. While the Federal government may become hostile to carbon reduction measures, some state and many local governments are taking leadership roles on the issue. Based on the events Tuesday, our efforts in combination with businesses will become more important. I would like to encourage all residents and especially businesses to redirect your efforts and engage your local and state governments and let them know how important carbon reduction measures are for you or your business.

    1. Yes! That’s 100% true. I definitely didn’t mean to suggest that government isn’t a critical part of solutions. State and local government is indeed in many cases eons ahead of the federal. Let’s keep the pressure on!

  2. Thanks for the article, Nick! I’ve had similar thoughts. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, it was under the Bush administration, with no hope of federal government action advancing a sustainability agenda, that sustainable business first experienced a massive wave of growth. There was a huge influx of talent and creativity, as well as steadily increasing demand.

    I do take issue with the idea that “business, with almost no help from the government, has already begun to take proactive action on climate change, drive a clean energy transition.” Subsidies for renewables are less and less necessary and clean energy costs are at parity with fossil fuels in many markets. But those subsidies were absolutely necessary to get that transition underway in the US. Especially since fossil fuels are also heavily subsidized, which continues to be the case. Sustainable businesses will be among the most important drivers for national climate action during the next 4 years; but we should support them and accelorate the clean energy transition with state and local governments.

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