Everyone is familiar with the received wisdom of a corporate downturn. Marketing and advertising go first, closely followed by other ‘soft’ functions. To this we can add environment and sustainability of course. Whilst I cannot comment on specific challenges facing environmental managers, it seems to me that this is the perfect time for corporate animals to embrace climate change, waste management, water quality, water availability, noise, air emissions and all of the other themes that regularly appear in sustainability reports.
The climate change sceptics would argue that this environment thing is only driven by regulation and is peripheral to the business of corporate profit making. Put simply, they would say that when the share price is tanking, it is specious to debate office paper recycling versus incineration with heat recovery. Shredding while the business district burns, you might say. This view is, of course, valid when you look at the hear-and-now of share price crashes, rescue packages, receivership or, heaven forbid, nationalisation. But in my view this is the perfect time to devise fresh business models and unleash the innovation department, unfettered by risk modellers and rating agencies.