- Greg Burman
- Calgary, Ab
a new environmental activism?
Pounding on political doors with stacks of scientific fact or shrill moral argument has proven a remarkably ineffective way of addressing the issue of climate change.
While Science stands in the middle of the jungle of Commerce screaming at the natives in the languages of Politics and Science, the natives speak only business.
Perhaps it is time for an approach executed in the language of commerce. I do not pretend that this proposal is flawless, without risk or even that the tools necessary all exist today, but nothing if not first a dream.
The value of a business is the value in today’s dollars of future profits, adjusted for the risks associated with generating those profits.
What if a model could be built to translate specific predicted effects of climate change into a probability/risk-adjusted range of impact on the future cash flows of say, a specific publicly held corporation?
A reasonably sized “what if”, but we are talking about probability adjusted risks (not scientific or accounting risk) and their impact on a specific business activity.
A shareholder in a corporation showing a meaningful modelled financial risk would have a legitimate right to ask the Board what they are planning to do to mitigate the risk. If like minded shareholders were sufficient in number and volume could the trading value of that corporation be impacted? To what extent could that influence say CEO behaviour?
In short, this is environmental activism expressed as targeted shareholder activism.
The inherent uncertainties are not the point. The point is, if you have been lobbying and placarding and letter-writing or producing environmental T.V. for the last 30 or 40 years, well how is that working out for you? Think we have time for another 30?
If you believe that our fragile eco bubble is in real danger, then in the words of the Connery character in the movie "The Untouchables":
What Are You Prepared To Do?