Paris Treaty: Are Corporations up to the Challenges?

By Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

Last month, in anticipation of the COP21 meetings, my blogging partner, Katrin Muff, wrote about hope for a miracle in Paris. Her desire was for global leaders to come together to create a positive force in the world to address climate change. Now that the meetings have concluded, I believe most of us would agree that her hope was realized.  The outcome of the COP21 was an ambitious multi-country agreement that moves us forward in addressing the urgent issue of climate change.  However, as Jeff Nye states in the title of his recent SustainAbility blog,  We’ve come a Long Way from Rio but the Real Journey Starts Now.  He argues that this treaty merely “fires the starting gun on a quest to deliver a carbon neutral economy within the lifetimes of our grandchildren.” Continue reading

Why all of us should care about corporate culture

by Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

On September 18, 2015 the Volkswagen Group received a notice of violation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States for intentionally programming their diesel engines to activate emissions controls only during laboratory testing.  According to the New York Times, this “diesel deception” could cause hundreds of deaths in the USA alone, due to the tons of pollutants released into the atmosphere.  And an October 28th headline in  the  New York Times proclaimed that “Volkswagen, hit by Emissions Scandal, Posts its First Loss in Years.” Continue reading

Challenges in Multi-Stakeholder Debates

by Dr. Katrin Muff

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

We have focused our discussion over the past few months to argue for, and establish, the need for a common space where burning societal issues can be resolved among concerned stakeholders. We looked at positive and negative implications, dangers and opportunities.

The back and forth between Kathy Miller who lives in North America, and me in Europe has stopped for a couple of months. This is unusual and a first in our 18 months continued conversation on this blog. It got stuck on my end. I have not been able to write. A couple of things occurred in parallel: first of all, I was absorbed in a complex multi-stakeholder process here at BSL that broadly discussed a potential new governance structure for the school. Secondly, Europe has been paralyzed by the Greek economic situation and the ongoing negotiations with Brussels that read and felt like a thriller, an ongoing thriller. Somehow, I lost my voice in all of this. This blog is an effort to regain my voice and to attempt a hesitant path on uncharted territory (German: “Neuland” or “new land”). I’ll do this looking at the Greek situation.

Continue reading

Occupying the Collective Space

by Dr. Katrin Muff

Different ways of occupying…

As we will consider in this month’s blog, there are different ways of occupying that middle ground between the personal space each of us feel responsible for, and societal best interests. The collective space called “we” can be used to uplift individuals to act together for a better common future, or it can be hijacked by individuals or special interest groups to occupy or “blockupy” the collective space pressing their issues – for better, or worse, as we shall see below, and not necessarily in the interest of the greater common good.

Continue reading

Moving From “I” to “We”

BLOG IMAGE

by Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins

For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.

John F. Kennedy 

Recap – January Blog

Last month Katrin discussed the “zero decade” – a term used by Naomi Klein to describe our dwindling opportunity to take action to keep human-created climate change in check.  Katrin conveyed how we might avoid an unmitigated global disaster.  She outlined three levels of global responsibility including the individual (I), the collective (we) and the societal (us).  She suggested focusing on how we might effectively occupy that middle space– the “we”.

Continue reading

The “Zero Decade” and the Zero-Impact Feeling

NOTE: This post by Dr Katrin Muff is a continuation of ‘The Transatlantic Debate Blog, a series of articles published in 2014 forming a conversation between Katrin Muff and Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. For more information and to read the posts, please click here.

Activists have come to call our current decade the “zero decade” – the decade in which we have the power to decide if we take action to keep human-made global warming within the relatively safe two degrees, or if we let the climate head off into spheres where the only certainty is that life will dramatically change for the generations after us. Is there anything we can do? Is there anything I can do?

I recently spent 40 hours on a train across India and took the time to read Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything book on climate change and what it will take for us to remain within the required two-degree temperature limit. Well, nothing short of getting rid of the capitalist system as we have come to know it! How? Nothing short of a revolution and global social unrest, she says. I don’t like social unrest – for many reasons – and I am sure I am not alone. The alternative? What if there is none?

Continue reading