If you want to invest time on reading a book on the environment and our role in it try ‘Climate of Hope’. It provides some blunt and easy to digest numbers.
- “US 2011: Coal polution was killing 13,200 Americans a year – 36 people a day – through respiratory disease, lung cancer, and other illnesses.” [Michael Bloomberg]
- “The financial toll in annual health costs exceeded $100 billion.” [Michael Bloomberg]
Yet the prevailing wisdom in discussions with many Korean companies is that the consumer is not interested in ‘green’ so we can’t justify the investment. The above message was not getting out or is at too high level for individuals to make the connection with brands.
Let me be clear, the rationale for business change does not have to be about green per se. When a broader circular economic model is applied a solid financial case can often be made and in terms of a company’s ‘trust credit’ inaction is not an option.
Putting this argument aside for now and returning to the ‘consumer doesn’t care’ issue. This year the level of pollution in Korea, and the attention it received, has jolted many people out of their ambivalent bubbles.
For most of March through April this year I didn’t want to leave my appartment with my two year old son because the pollution was so bad. Rich or poor no one can escape this reality and there has definitely been a shift in attitude on the ground. The direct and personal link between responsible businesses and ones health, lifestyle and finances is (finally) being made. On the latter, even forgetting the much more stark health impacts and associated costs, if I had (and I probably should have) purchased a face mask for each of the days the air quality was defined as “dangerous” over a three month period it would have cost me over $180. Extend that to the family and you have $ 540 a quarter!
Companies that can show they are helping change this picture will secure user and staff loyalty.