Striving for carbon neutrality not only makes good social sense, it makes good business sense. The US has balked at taking action on global warming citing fears it would hurt the economy. However, I think excessive planetary warming and polar meltdown would be more damaging. Besides, New Zealand is in an excellent position to lead the world in new carbon reduction products and technologies. It seems to be an inevitable path and we should take the lead.
19/7/2007) I had a discussion with my friend "Anthony" about the obligations that a business has to society. He is a strict free market advocate and believes the only obligation a corporation has is to make a profit. He argues that a business will self regulate its responsibility to society by its need to stay in business. He said if they sell substandard or unsafe products, the marketplace will reject them and the company will go out of business. I maintain that he has a naive view of business. A company that is only profit driven will focus on profit at any cost. They will use deceit, advertising, and lies to exploit the public. Companies will exploit consumers and nations will exploit weaker nations. Unsafe drugs will be sold that may take years to detect. A business has a responsibility to society and that should be a part of their motivation for existing.
21/7/2007) Random thoughts on stakeholder power: What do we do when there is a conflict of interest among the stakeholders What if a community thinks a business is creating too much noise at night On the one side there is the corporation, the suppliers, the shareholders, and the distributors, and employees who have little interest in investing money or paying higher prices for noise abatement. There are also the secondary beneficiaries such as local shops where workers spend their money. This bloc has vast wealth, legal teams, and wide support. On the other hand there are the local people who are annoyed by the noise. They have stakeholder power: economic, voting, political, and legal. But the only way that any of these powers are of any value is through organization. Non-economic stakeholders only have the power of organization because most companies will only be reactive. The role of the manager in the future will be to alter the reactive nature of business.
23/7/2007) 'Anthony' dropped by for another visit and we spoke about government's role in business. Of course, the hardened capitalist that he is advocated for absolute hands off of commerce. He did bring up a good point. He said that government regulation would always favor the party with the greatest influence. That's why the major portion of corporate public affairs involves relations with the federal government. In fact, government regulation is simply a tool that can be used by corrupt businesses to allow them to operate immorally within the law. He still insists that consumer choice and market pressures are the only real and valid form of regulation.
24/7/2007) Had to take a walk this evening in this chilly wet weather. I must remember to look for some footwear that is a little more resilient to moisture. Stopped by a little cafe and had a cup of coffee from Hawaii. Best I've had in quite a while. Made me think that I'm sitting in a local shop, drinking American coffee, and contemplating buying shoes probably from China. I'm no jet-setter but I certainly have gone global. As global cooperation and interaction