Sunday, June 3, 2007

Proactive strategies for climate change

University of Queensland press release (Australia): A new study by University of Queensland Business School academic Associate Professor Andrew Griffiths and PhD student Nardia Haigh shows companies are finding innovative responses to climate change.

Dr Griffiths said although most of the debate on climate change focussed on the negative impacts of adaptation on economies, communities, and the environment, the private sector was proactively engaging with the issues. “We found that companies were developing and integrating patterns of ‘small wins' as a way to redefine seemingly intractable social problems so they became manageable," Dr Griffiths said.

“Our data resists assertions that one small win is unimportant – in fact, a series of small wins reveals a pattern that may attract others and deter opponents. “Companies that look for ways to link issues and successful initiatives are able to find innovative solutions with more cooperation across the organisation.

“If this linking doesn't happen, companies risk a series of small flops that may potentially lead to significant overall loss.” Ms Haigh said the study found small teams working firstly on energy efficiency projects developed skills and capabilities that were then transferred to larger issues such as fleet management, facilities design and management, and the development of carbon accounting systems.

“Wins in these areas were then extended to issues of supply chain management and then into broader concerns," she said. “Companies found the small wins strategy enabled them to build skills and capabilities of employees whilst addressing their personal concerns about sustainability issues. Value is then built into the business via cost savings on carbon emissions.

“We expect the business taskforce on emissions trading report to stimulate further interest in these approaches and an increased desire to reduce carbon exposure from companies large and small.”

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