Responsibility without authority burns people out. Nurses who care for patients but have little means of controlling the pain and comfort of those they care for will be drained. Likewise the social worker who tries to help those disenfranchised but gets flooded with paper work and a mammoth system to navigate. And the public servant who is sent to “help” members of the public, or small businesses, but are given few tools that really can be used to benefit those truly in need.
We all burn out when we feel and are made to feel responsible for things which we do not have control over. In many sense, corporates confronting sustainability targets can feel that way. They’ve been consuming energy from the grid and traditional sources of power they don’t realise they have the authority or control even when they feel responsible for carbon footprint. They will have to start looking to take control of the way they produce the products, and consume the energy, as well as be more conscious about who they work with across the supply chain.
The decarbonisation movement isn’t just about mimicry or words put out in the public, it is a reflection of taking leadership over what a firm has been doing to be able to provide things of value. Because as the economy is pivoting, if you are just trying to make a living by being a copycat, it’s only going to keep getting harder. Taking responsibility for sustainability is kind, but taking control is effective.