Shame about the cycle!

You know you are in trouble when the business executives you are doing a climate change presentation for are working the Blackberry or similar devices hard. Doubly so when global credit markets are frozen, sharemarkets are in freefall, the dollar is crashing and there's a whiff of financial apocalyse in the air.

The message was clear: This was no time to be talking about long-term sustainability value, though of course more talk about that at every step of the long boom that's now imploding might have kept it going at least a bit longer.

Then one executive delivered the killer line. I won't name anyone, but he professed to be personally attuned to the climate change challenge and the need for action. It was just that his food sector FMCG company was already struggling and could face a short to medium term survival challenge, rather than the relative luxury of a long-term sustainability one.

Of course I get the conundrum. But wasn't this the same challenge that global brand names like US auto giants Ford and GM faced several years ago? Even before oil prices took off, the writing was on the wall about big, heavy-polluting fuel guzzlers like the ubiquitous SUVs. But they kept making them while Japanese rivals like Toyota and Honda were pioneering commercial hybrids, and those strange Europeans were getting into small diesels. Ummmmmm. Big mistake I reckon.

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