I know it has been a pretty busy news week, what with the government slowly imploding and all, but it still seems a trifle strange that the UK business community's Road to Damascus moment went so under reported.
For almost as long as businesses have existed their default policy has been to kick vigorously against governments and their red tape. Taxes and regulations were a burden to be borne grudgingly and new laws and rules were to be opposed as a matter of principle.
Until, that is, this week.
The report from the CBI's Climate Change Task Force was remarkable for so many reasons, but what stood out the most was the call for more, not less, regulation.
Under the previous head of the CBI, Sir Digby Jones, the organisation was a constant and vocal thorn in the side of regulators everywhere, calling for tax cuts and a lighter touch to regulation at every opportunity. Now, just over a year after his departure the leading lights in UK business want more green laws and they want them fast.
Moreover, they have learnt the lesson that was always beyond poor old Digby: that these green regulations and taxes are good for business. As the report articulately outlined a clear regulatory framework would not only limit climate change risks by driving emissions cuts, it would also provide a stable environment in which firms can make the investments necessary to decarbonise their operations, head off the managerial nightmare of a patchwork of different green laws across different jurisdictions, and help drive the market demand for new green products and services.
It is difficult to overstate the scale of the sea change in attitude at the top table of UK business - and what's more it is not just UK bosses have undertaken this policy u-turn. Prince Charles managed to get 150 of the world's largest multinationals to issue a similar call for legally binding emissions cuts, while a new survey from Clifford Chance found that 80 per cent businesses want more green regulations. That's four out of five business execs wanting more laws, the ice caps might be melting but some commentators would be forgiven for checking whether hell had frozen over.
Once you accept that there has been a fundamental change in attitude in many of the world's top boardrooms the green investment boom suddenly makes a lot more sense. Whether it is US VCs ploughing money into clean tech like it is going out of fashion or large multinationals like Philips tapping into their acquisition war chests to improve their green portfolios all these decisions are being informed by an understanding that the global legislative framework is changing.
Of course, some firms still don't seem to get it. But there is little doubt that as support for green regulations becomes the norm those that fail to fall into line will face a level of public opprobrium that will become all but impossible to ignore.
Have a good weekend,
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