Holcim (U.S.) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
DB: Where are you?
AH: Copenhagen, I’m giving a talk on climate change at a conference at the Copenhagen Business School.
DB: What’s on the agenda?
AH: It’s about how companies can address climate change as a business issue.Business leaders need to get a sense of the coming changes, whether their operations are vulnerable to the changes, what programs are out there for assistance,
and where they may see an advantage in relation to their competition.
DB: Is the planet warming because of long-term weather patterns, or are carbon emissions contributing to rising temperatures?
AH: I’m not an atmospheric scientist, but from a business perspective, executives need to understand that the market is shifting. That’s what I focus on.
DB: How will potential changes in climate standards affect Michigan’s economy?
AH: Because Michigan’s economy is dominated by automakers, they may have to devote more resources to hybrids, plug-ins, even diesel. The state is also attracting companies working in biodiesel, and there’s a lot of research going on at U-M and other places on battery technology.
DB: What do you recommend to affected businesses?
AH: There are Web-based resources, businesses can join trade organizations, they can tap into their chambers of commerce, and they can follow what’s happening in the legislative arena. And not only can they monitor what’s happening in government, they can also try to influence it. It’s really an issue of business strategy — investors are looking at it and consumers are engaged. The U-M Ross School of Business is also offering a conference on climate change and business strategy (May 17-18, 2010).