Climate Change: A Guide for Corporates
SUBJECT: CLIMATE CHANGE / SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT /SOUTH AFRICA / ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES
About the book
SUBJECT: CLIMATE CHANGE / SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT /SOUTH AFRICA / ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES About the book
“We’re the first generation that has had the power to destroy the planet. Ignoring that risk can only be described as reckless” (Sir Nicholas Stern, 2009)
Not a day passes by without new information emerging about the impact of climate change on our planet or the seemingly relentless pace of change to our world due to climate change. Each day brings forth renewed calls for action – the need for actions from individuals, governments, and increasingly, the corporate world. It is no longer business-as-usual – we can literally no longer afford that.
But how do we react? What can corporations, big and small, do to address climate change? Responding to climate change is becoming a permanent feature on the agendas of companies, NGOs, employees and the broader public. Formulating appropriate responses to climate change is however often surprisingly difficult. Debates and regulations surrounding climate change are clouded in strange scientific terminology and a pile of data which overwhelm us. We may also feel that the scale and scope of climate change is so immense that our individual and corporate responses cannot really make a difference.
This book not only actively demystifies the corporate response to climate change, but also ensures that everyone can do something to address climate change.
To this end, the authors provide an overview of South African media publications which highlights not only the imperative for a corporate response to climate change, but also the change in paradigm faced by business. Here, the reader is drawn into the most current corporate climate change debate through printed media excerpts and accompanying corresponding graphics and photos.
The book continues with an intriguing report on an empirical study conducted on the web database of the newspaper Business Day. Findings point to the most important climate change topics of discussion in specifically the corporate environment over the last 11 years. The local Business Day frequency search is also positioned in an international context with similar searches conducted in the Wall Street Journal, the London Financial Times and the Australian Financial Review.
In conclusion, the book offers a method of corporate climate change response benchmarking, reporting and accounting via a corporate climate change response “checklist” and a description of its use by various corporate stakeholders. This handy checklist is organised into ten domains that will assist business to have an overview of the whole field of climate change and concise pointers in each of these domains. The ten domains are discussed in the following sequence:
Recommended as essential reading for a range of audiences, from students, lecturers, journalists, boards of directors, managers, shareholders and a range of other stakeholders, the book provides vital information for strategic planning sessions, preparing for climate change audits and carbon disclosure projects, induction and training sessions, and preparing ourselves for an increasingly carbon-constrained world. Ultimately, Demystifying the corporate response to climate change shows that responding to climate change as corporations is not only necessary but actually possible!
About the Authors
Dr Hennie Stoffberg teaches post graduate and undergraduate students in Architecture at the University of Pretoria and the focus of his research is on climate change and the built environment. He held the position as the Program Manager for the Exxaro Chair in Business and Climate Change at the Centre for Corporate Citizenship of the University of South Africa, during 2008.
Dr Paul Prinsloo is an Education Consultant at the University of South Africa. His research interests include corporate citizenship, sustainability education and teaching about climate change. He consulted widely for a range of institutions including the United Nations Global Compact Learning Forum in Ghana, and regularly consults for various South African universities and universities of technology.
What the critics say
‘The response that corporations must develop to Climate Change is arguably one of the most important and challenging activities that they will undertake in the 21st century which will have significant implications for the world as we know it. Yet the study of climate change can, from the average manager’s perspective, appear to be filled with incomprehensible scientific facts, glib conventional wisdom, conflicting opinion and the omnipresent danger of inadvertently adopting the perspectives of rogue environmental scientists. What is needed is a straightforward guide that appeals to the career managers desire for structure, process and predictable outcomes. This is what Dr. Hennie Stoffberg and Dr. Paul Prinsloo have delivered by producing a very usable booklet for conceptualizing and planning corporate climate change strategy, and the realities of prospering in a low carbon society. The book is free of jargon, identifies the most relevant experts in the field and defines in the simplest terms the key elements that should constitute a credible corporate response to climate change. It provides the much needed kick start that we all need to evolve strategies capable of arresting climate change!’
‘… I think this book is going to be extremely useful. The primary contribution it makes is to draw together almost the entire current universe of measures and expectations of business with regards climate change – in a single, concise book. I have no doubt that this will be an incredible help to business managers who are frequently crying out: `Just tell us, once and for all, what you want from us’.
From the Foreword by Dr Neil Eccles
`This book is a timely and crucial contribution to assist corporations and broader roleplayer alliances to formulate appropriate and pro-active responses to climate change.’
From the Foreword by Mosibudi Mangena
BOOK STRUCTURE: Contents
Part 1: Using this Book
The different parts of the book have been colour-coded to allow easy navigation and multiple entry points, depending on the user’s interest.
A range of users will find the book useful. This book was specifically designed to empower the following groups of people:
Boards of Directors
The whole book - from highlighting the relationship between the corporate response to climate change and reputational value, to the final checklist, can assist Boards of Directors to formulate appropriate and effective responses to climate change.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Induction and Training
Shareholders and Stakeholders
Business Schools and Universities
PART II: A CHANGE OF PARADIGM
A South African Print Media Perspective
This Part sketches the corporate climate change scenario based on a selection of South African media and highlights not only the imperative for a corporate response to climate change, but also the fact that business faces a shift in paradigm.
In the Introduction, the climate change debate is defined in terms of its scope and its international context.
The short review of recent literature is focused on highlighting a selection of recent publications which provide different perspectives on climate change in relation to a range of different emphases – from very broad discussions of climate change in the context of the broader sustainability debates to a very detailed analysis of specific aspects of corporate responses to climate change.
The media plays in important role in the way the broader public understands and relates to the issue of climate change. More broadly, the issue of corporate climate change literacy is explored. We need to move away from the `armchair pontificators’ to positive change agents, and more towards the concept of `planetary citizenship’, which emphasises the interdependence and long-term effects of human and business practices .
Part II finally details an empirical study conducted on the web database of the newspaper Business Day. The findings indicate the most important climate change topics of discussion in specifically the corporate environment for the period 1997-2007.
PART III: CLIMATE CHANGE CHECKLIST
Part III provides a method of corporate climate change response benchmarking, reporting and accounting through the presentation of a corporate climate change response `checklist’ and a description of its use by various corporate stakeholders.
This is a fact-based approach to how corporations should engage with approaching a response to climate change.
Description of Domains
The book’s inside back covers fold out to provide a handy overview of the ten domains and checklist items for each, while the front cover flap folds out to reveal a Climate Change Timeline; from before 1800 to 2007.