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New Research Shows Companies are Engaging with Climate Change

25 Aug 2011

Contrary to the popular media depiction of Australian business as sceptical, or resistant to the need for action on climate change, Professor Chris Wright's latest research has found there is extensive corporate engagement with this issue.

Professor Wright and his colleagues from the University of Sydney Business School have found companies they've studied see climate change as a key strategic issue, to which they are investing significant energy and resources.

Looking closely at more than twenty of Australia's leading companies, Professor Wright's research has found that many of our largest businesses are highly active in reducing their carbon footprint, developing environmentally sustainable products and services, and advocating for public policy action on climate change.

The research also looked at why leading businesses are engaging with climate change, and how they are doing this in terms of new practices, products and services.

The findings were presented today at the University of Sydney Business School Powered By Research corporate breakfast.

A panel of experts including Dr Matthew Bell (Executive Director of Climate Change and Sustainability, Ernst and Young), Ben Waters (Director, ecomagination, GE Australia & New Zealand) and Greg Bourne (former CEO of WWF - Australia) were led by Helen Dalley in an engaging debate about this significant issue.

Professor Wright said: "Going beyond the why and the how of business responses to climate change, an emergent theme in our research, which has broader implications for how we understand organisational and social change, is the role of emotion".

"We've found the business of managing climate change is highly emotional. Responding to climate change involves major organisational change, and this change is strongly informed by the encouragement and the constraint of emotion both by organisations and individuals".

"I too am emotionally engaged with climate change. However, I'm hopeful that in acknowledging that fact, like venture capitalist John Doerr, I'll be able to speak to my kids in twenty years and say - we saw this coming, we knew it was critical, and we took action to prevent it".

For more information about the Powered By Research Series contact Alison Avery

Professor Chris Wright is a Professor of Organisational Studies in the University of Sydney Business School. He has published widely on the topics of organizational change, consultancy and the diffusion of management knowledge in leading journals such as The British Journal of Management, Human Relations and Organization. He is currently leading an Australian Research Council Discovery project on how business activities are changing in response to climate change.