Did you know that 40 very large global companies, including titans of American industry like GM, Intel, Levi’s, Starbucks, Nike and eBay, signed a Climate Change Declaration that states that tackling climate change is one of our biggest economic opportunities – and the right thing to do? The reason you haven’t heard about it is because there’s been almost no media coverage of it.
This is just plain weird, given the volume and stature of the companies involved, and the urgency of the climate change challenge for America and the world. The idea driving the campaign is both big and easy to understand: a message platform that companies can get behind in order to create a groundswell and push policymakers to finally take action. Since it launched, the declaration has picked up steam, adding 10 new large corporations to the list, and numerous smaller companies. But still the declaration is not in the news, with the exception of a small story in GM’s home town newspaper.
So, why isn’t the business press, at the very least, reporting on this? There is certainly a lot of media noise in general and no lack of catastrophes to report on. But one would think that the story of large, conservative businesses speaking with one voice on climate change would make a few headlines. After all, the idea that tackling climate change means business marks a major shift in the climate change debate.
Nobody can credibly claim that climate change is a liberal fiction dreamed up by Al Gore. These businesses are cautious and smart. They’ve done their homework on this topic and reached a firm conclusion: we need to take action, now. For companies that constantly analyze their balance sheets and weigh the potential risks and rewards of every move, the evidence is clear in this case. The risks of inaction on climate change outweigh the risks of action. It’s a matter of cost, opportunity, and morality.
To paraphrase the wording in the declaration, we can’t risk our kids’ future on the false hope that the vast majority of the worlds’ leading scientists are wrong. Just as important to a business audience, if America fails to invent the clean technologies that will provide solutions to climate change, other countries will, and they will be the ones to gain economically. We have to lead.
But this is just me talking. Not the press. Why is that? Maybe we should start asking CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the major networks, and our local newspapers and TV stations why this is not considered newsworthy. Or maybe in the age of social media and blogging, the traditional news outlets are less relevant. What do you think?