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Can Business Save the Planet?


Oxford, UK, May 2008 – In their new book, External link Positively Responsible authors Erik Bichard and Cary Cooper CBE look at how individuals behave in a situation of global crisis and how businesses can start to take the necessary positive steps towards a more sustainable and financially stable future.

Inspired by years of working with businesses to lessen their environmental and social impacts and improve their competitiveness, Positively Responsible shows how sustainable business practices can be achieved without having a negative influence on either corporate leaders or their employees, by using the forces of market advantage rather than opposing them.

“Companies that choose to lead their employees and customers on sustainability issues are still dependent on enough people being ready to follow,” according to author, Erik Bichard, former Chief Executive of the UK National Centre for Business & Sustainability. “A deep understanding of behaviour change in this area is therefore fundamental to a successful business model for would be sustainability leaders.”

Positively Responsible challenges the assumption that incorporating sustainability into business strategy will be a necessarily painful and fiscally destructive process, exploring fundamental questions and issues, such as:

Are people essentially irrational and self-centred?
How do people respond at times of crisis?
How can leaders act as a bolt of light for change for their business?

Illustrated by corporate case studies taken from Nestle, Wal-Mart, Marks & Spencer, South West Airliners (SWA), The Body Shop, Ben & Jerry’s, Shell, ICI, BNFL, Boeing, DuPont, Dow, Mitsui and StoraEnso, Norsk Hydro, Amec, FRC Group, Electrolux and others, the authors show how a more proactive approach pays dividends for the future.

Positively Responsible combines a penetrating understanding of sustainable business development with a comprehensive description of what motivates or de-motivates human beings. This breakthrough approach examines the varying influences of incentives on human behaviour and how these can be used to chart a coherent and positive course of action within organizations. It recommends a new strategy for corporate social responsibility, built on a market-based justification for change, and within the crucial timescales predicted by climate researchers.


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