Where does change happen? This is a very common question at Dickinson. The general answer is that it starts with yourself, spreads through your community, and then through the globe. For the purposes of what I want to discuss, change can happen with businesses too. In terms of climate change many look to business and the market as a significant factor to where GHG concentrations are currently. This is a large of debate and an entire separate discussion. What I am going to focus on is how businesses can make change happen by being vocal activists.
The Prince of Whales Climate Leadership Group (CLG) provides a forum for businesses around the world to come together and make their collective voices heard about the urgency of climate change issues. The CLG communiques are the outlet for this voice. Six have been released thus far, with the seventh not far from release. At first they followed significant COP decisions, but recently have been focused on broader issues. For instance, the most recent was in support of a global carbon price.
The next communique is nearly ready and firms have already begun to sign it. This seventh communique, the Trillion Tonne Communique, is for those who support the idea of a trillion tonne cap on carbon emitted. This is the number that was put, as a limit, to the 2 degrees Celsius maximum. It was brought to the attention of the mosaic a few weeks ago and immediately we acted on it. A letter was drafted to the President of the College and the Chair of the Board asking them to support Dickinson signing on to the Communique. The next day we had a meeting with the President, who then told us to pursue it through the chain of committees that would have been traditionally followed. It is now under review and we hope to have an answer in time for COP20.
Now, you may be thinking, Dickinson College is not a business. It is not, but it is a registered non-profit and therefore able to sign on. Why do this? For one, it is a simple gesture- as no real pledge needs to be made. On another level this could ignite an entirely new conversation and network. Imagine businesses and institutions of higher education collaborating and using their very different voices to demand action on climate change at an international level.
We will see what happens as we approach a meeting of the Dickinson Board and as we near COP20 in December. Let me know your thoughts on this below!