When it comes to the environment and adopting a greener way of doing things the focus of recent years, certainly in the media, seems to have been on what we can do as individuals and households.

In many respects, business has got off quite lightly and more often than not has done a good job of deflecting attention away from themselves.

But attitudes do seem to be shifting, albeit quite slowly, with businesses now coming under increasing pressure to justify their actions in terms of the environmental impact it has.

So a few stories doing the rounds over the last couple of days have caught my eye.

Firstly, despite the recent stories regarding the environmental role of businesses, firms are ignoring the demands of “green IT”.

Although 70 per cent of 250 senior business managers expressed environmental concerns, only half indicated that they had actually tried to combat this by developing strategies to minimise their carbon footprint and cut their exposure to rising energy costs.

Fewer than 30 per cent of the respondents said that they were increasing their use of technology.

Straight-forward opportunities like video-conferencing, which provides significant environmental benefits were simply not being investigated.

Which makes the second story – Virgin Atlantic reporting strong growth in business air travel – less of a surprise.

The airline has seen record level of business travel, which doesn’t say much for the green credentials of the corporate world.

Finally, is it little wonder that we’re not embracing a greener work and lifestyle when our political leaders are doing such a bad job of setting a good example?

According to leading US scientists and environmentalists, Gordon Brown and his Government risk losing a global leadership position on climate change and could scupper a deal to cut emissions if it presses ahead with a new generation of dirty coal power.

It is timely that the next Big Debate taking place in Birmingham on September 15 will be looking at progress, or lack of it, of adopting sustainable strategies.

Increasing the pace of progress is all-important, but engineering a cultural shift could well take a long time to complete.


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