http://blog.wwf.ca/blog/2011/01/24/beyond-watchdog-engaging-business-for-change/?utm_source=Panda%2BMail%2BNewsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=Monte%2Bconvocation%2Baddress&utm_campaign=Panda%2BMail%2BNewsletter%2BJanuary-25-2011

The whole idea of inhabiting the margins really bothers me, safely watching decisions being made by others, then commenting, critiquing or second-guessing from a distance. It’s too easy. Dare I say too academic? And it borders on self-righteous. Given what’s at stake for Nature these days, being a perpetual observer, with no real skin in the game, is no longer defendable.

I have always preferred to be at the centre of things, fully engaged with those in power, and PARTY to the decisions that the watchdogs ponder from the sidelines. Doing, not watching, is where you can take the kind of risks that make a real difference. Because, when all is said and done, more is said than done.

There are those who caution against engaging business at all. Too big. Too powerful. Amoral at best. Immoral at worst. Profit-driven and corrupting by association, to paraphrase Machiavelli.

But since the market capitalization of the world’s largest companies rivals the gross domestic product of many medium-sized countries, we have no choice but to engage business. Their operations dramatically impact the environment on a local-to-global scale, and they affect each of our daily lives. Therefore, to leave the corporate sector unaddressed would be the strategic equivalent of hiding your head in the sand.  Do you want to make a difference, or not?

So the question is not whether to engage, but how. Further, I believe such engagement is not just a matter of fending off evil. Rather, much good can come from it. To those who feel that anyone who engages business has sold out, I ask, “Just how deep is your commitment to our cause, if you won’t deal with those who affect it most?”

 

Go to the right place out of goodwill, if you wish. Or go there because you were pressured, if you must. But go there you will. Or perish.

I like this line. Harsh, but real.

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