Self-interest and the path to Krugman’s green economyApril 14th, 2010 | Posted by Sona Pai
I finally made time to read Paul Krugman’s lengthy New York Times magazine piece “Building a Green Economy,” which is essentially a crash course in Enviro Econ 101.
One point he made struck me as particularly relevant to those of us in the communications field. He notes, realistically, that one individual’s conservation efforts just don’t have a significant impact on climate change: “Any serious solution must rely mainly on creating a system that gives everyone a self-interested reason to produce fewer emissions.”
His point has a direct application to businesses making efforts to be more sustainable and those of us who help them tell their stories. No matter how large, one business can not solve the problem alone. It can however, set the stage for broader adoption of responsible practices. What better way to do that than to communicate, loudly, clearly and accurately, the business benefits of sustainability?
So often, sustainability communications take a feel-good approach, touting how a company is making a healthier, greener planet for everyone. But, what if more businesses made a bigger deal about how sustainability actually saves their company money through more efficient processes, healthier employees, etc.? And what if they shared this kind of information not just with shareholders, but with everyone?
This is an area where we, as communicators, can help. By adjusting the frame in this way—positioning corporate responsibility not as a responsibility but as smart business strategy—maybe we can all do better for ourselves and the planet.