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C200: The Business Of Tackling Climate Change

2011 April 8
by Charlie Cunniff

It is tough to think about global warming today. As I was drafting this, the earth was shaking, coastal villages in Japan were washed to the sea and the earth was knocked off its axis by 6.5 inches. But, think we must, and then pull all our energy in the direction of a low carbon future. A growing alignment of smart businesses, environmentalists and the military know that our common interests are truly entwined. And we will need to tap every last ounce of the power of both business and NGOs if we hope to have a chance of saving ourselves.

In our daily life, we all support businesses of some sort. Businesses are an essential thread of societal fabric. Businesses can thrive and contribute to the right side of climate change—many do. The literature is replete with businesses investing in energy conservation, smart commuter strategies for their employees and authentic “green” behavior. This saves resources, retains employees and attracts green-minded customers. We can help businesses by making programs less opaque, more accessible, easier to access—and, as reliably discerning customers.

The times are troubling, but the sun will rise tomorrow. And if the enviros and the business community work together we’ve still got a good shot at transforming our cities quickly and effectively enough to make a difference.


Charlie Cunniff works on the Seattle Climate Partnership and as the environmental specialist on the Business Advocacy team at the City Office of Economic Development.