Professor Christopher Wright says he often feels like the guy yelling on the street corner wearing a sandwich board saying, “the end of the world is nigh!”.
The science of the detrimental effects of carbon emissions on the environment has been known for over a century, and yet many organisations with the capacity to make the biggest difference have refused to heed warnings from the world’s foremost scientists and experts in the field, including Christopher, who has been studying the connection between business and climate change for more than a decade.
“I don't think there is a bigger issue that we face. It’s bigger than anything, because it's about the future of us as a species and the future of life on the planet,” he says.
Smart businesses realise an increasingly decarbonised world that is moving away from coal, oil and gas and towards green hydrogen and industrial-scale renewable energy will open up new opportunities.
Such radical changes will have “myriad ripple effects throughout economies worldwide and managers need to be across these changes and planning for how this will affect their businesses,” Christopher says.
The students who take his courses on climate change and sustainability in business also play a part, even though the gravity of the problem can sometimes feel overwhelming.
“You have to be quite careful how you communicate it because they can get quite depressed.
“You say, ‘Yeah, it's pretty terrible, but it's better to know about it. And then you can think about how you can change it.’
“A lot of them come back and say, ‘I was going to be a HR manager but now I want to get into sustainability and try to improve things.’ So having that impact on people directly through teaching is great.”
There are few scholars who have the comprehensive understanding of the climate crisis—the impacts, the economics, the policies and politics—as Chris Wright. I’ve learned much from Chris during our collaborations over the years, including our work together during the “black summer” of 2019/2020 when Chris co-hosted my sabbatical in Sydney.
This research aligns with Sustainability Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, Sustainability Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and Sustainability Development Goal: 13 Climate Action and reflects the Business School's commitment to the UN Principles of Responsible Management Education.