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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

And the best business award for climate change goes to....?

Who doesn’t like to get awards? Not everyone wants to do an Aamir Khan act, where the Indian actor is famous (or infamous) for his defiance stance against Bollywood awards. Going against the wind can be a good idea for a celebrity to get noticed and create headlines. But when it comes to businesses, may be not everybody wants to take a chance to challenge business awards, especially if they are coming your way for innovative new issues and sometimes backed with financial or reputational gains. The Daily Star and the HSBC Bank in Bangladesh have been pioneers to apply the ‘awards strategy’ not only to champion current causes but also to embolden their brand images in the same push. The leading English daily of the country is already tied up with the annual business awards jointly sponsored with DHL whereas HSBC is also knows to be involved in various entrepreneurship development related projects, among other social projects.

The dynamic duo were certainly quick to spot the next best buzzword to spread in the Bangladeshi corporates. After squeezing a lot of lemon out of corporate social responsibility, make way for 'climate change' my friends. The Daily Star and the HSBC Bank recently announced climate awards in four categories with an objective to encourage individuals and institutions working to face the challenges of climate change. Certainly it’s a good thing to raise awareness about climate change and the risk it poses to Bangladesh being the most vulnerable country in this case. It also goes without saying that Bangladeshi businesses have an important role to play to increase awareness and also to do business in a climate-friendly way. Consequently there is no harm in recognising and awarding the champion businesses who lead with examples in relation to climate change threat to Bangladesh. HSBC is also calling itself the ‘first carbon neutral bank’, only God and Sanjay Prakash know what this means but I reckon one of the upcoming trendy jargons to use in relation to climate change following ‘carbon footprints’, ‘green entrepreneurship’ and the likes.

From a different perspective, if Bangladesh is like a sinking boat due to the threats of climate change, the Daily Star and HSBC are planning to award businesses who do less damage to the already sinking boat. An award for those businesses and individuals in Bangladesh who are not increasing the size of the deadly hole under the Bangla boat by means of doing business ‘dangerously’ in a way which may aggravate the climate threats. What I don’t understand is if we as a country are in the receiving end of the catastrophic consequences of climate change, then what is the point of giving awards only to businesses which are in Bangladesh? Our businesses are not responsible to bring about this worst kind of threat to our country, then why should all the rules and regulations in terms of climate protection and responsible business apply to our brands? Can we expect HSBC and Daily Star to continue this award may be under water in Bay of Bengal in 2030? Or they can try that may be this year to ‘raise awareness’ around the world, similar stunts were carried out by the aqua-friendly Maldivian government officials lately.

I recommend giving awards to western businesses who need to be encouraged by the HSBC and Daily Star for their adherence to protecting the climate through their business functions. Why can’t they lure global climate culprits like BP with this award? Why can’t we, as the most vulnerable country affected by climate change, start giving awards to foreign companies who should sort out their business acts first which are the main reasons for the global warming, rising tidal waves and changing temperatures? I think its high time that along with taming our home businesses concerning climate change, we also should bring to books, through awards or op-eds or campaigns – the foreign businesses which need to make their business processes ‘climate friendly’ first. Sanjay please pass this message to your foreign bosses.

1 comment:

corporate image said...

In what ways has climate change become a political issue and why?
I currently believe that climate change is real but not the effect of human activity. Why do politicians (particularly liberals) love climate change so much?