This blog was written by Auden Shendler, VP of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company. It was originally posted by GreenBiz on August 25, 2017. View the original post here.
At 12:04 a.m. March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground, ruptured and spilled 11 million gallons into Prince William Sound in Alaska, a landscape that would make you cry even before it was covered in oil.
That disaster triggered a group of businesses to create the "Valdez Principles,” later called the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) Principles, a groundbreaking pledge to operate in an ecologically responsible fashion. There are now 60 CERES signatories.
The idea — that business ought to care about more than just profit — helped kick off a sustainable business movement that thrives today.
But the pledge missed something. And one consequence of that omission has been our failure to solve climate change, far and away the most important threat to a sustainable world.
What was missing was a call for corporate responsibility in the broader work of democracy. Instead, the focus was purely on internal operations — all that was asked of a business to be considered "responsible" was that it keep its own house in order. But that’s not enough. Voluntary pollution reductions never will achieve the scale needed to solve climate change or any other global problem.
You’ve got to have policy.
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