By Bahar Gidwani
This past week brought two pieces of positive news on Climate Change activism. A number of highly-influential and well-connected politicians publicly stressed the importance of addressing climate change. One of these luminaries, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, recently took the additional step of assuming the Chair of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).
Just yesterday, we heard from smaller companies. Our friends at the American Council of Sustainable Businesses (ACSB) released a poll of 555 small businesses. It showed that a majority of those polled were concerned about Climate Change. The small business people included more Republicans and Independents than Democrats. The bigwig contingent was equally diverse, politically. The EPA’s recent pronouncement of state-by-state carbon limits adds further pressure on local politicians to fall in line.
While there was hand wringing and despair shown by the remaining climate doubters over the EPA action, I did not see any immediate attempts to reverse it (or to indict or impeach anyone!). I take this as a further sign that we are moving towards a consensus that we should finally start to take concerted action to avoid further global warming.
Once we stop arguing over whether or not we need to do something, we can start arguing about what we need to do. Carbon is not the only driver for warming—we need to deal also with other gases, deforestation, and changes in surface reflectivity. Many corporate entities have already cut their carbon emissions by 30% or 50%. We will need new technologies and management systems to go further than this. And, we will need to find ways to encourage government agencies, not-for-profits and individuals to change their behavior.
We hope our database and the tools we have built will help this process. As part of our commitment to our stakeholders (we are a B Corp), we have worked hard to keep our company’s carbon use low. Still, we probably need to examine our own practices to see if we can find more savings and contribute our fair share to solving what is finally being acknowledged as one of the most important issues of our day.
Bahar Gidwani is CEO and Co-founder of CSRHub. He has built and run large technology-based businesses for many years. Bahar holds a CFA, worked on Wall Street with Kidder, Peabody, and with McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to a number of major companies and currently serves on the board of several software and Web companies. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy. Bahar is a member of the SASB Advisory Board. He plays bridge, races sailboats, and is based in New York City.
CSRHub provides access to corporate social responsibility and sustainability ratings and information on 8,900+ companies from 135 industries in 102 countries. By aggregating and normalizing the information from 325 data sources, CSRHub has created a broad, consistent rating system and a searchable database that links millions of rating elements back to their source. Managers, researchers and activists use CSRHub to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices and seek ways to change the world.