For years the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has firmly adhered to the environmental philosophy of the world's leading fictional industrialist, The Simpsons' C. Montgomery Burns.
Namely that "nature started the fight for survival, and now she wants to quit because she's losing. Well I say, hard cheese."
Yet in recent years the CBI's stance on environmental matters has gradually softened and with the recent departure of former director general, Digby Jones - a man whose crusade against UK environmental legislation and, shall we say, relaxed understanding of corporate accountability has more in common with a nineteenth century mine owner than a modern, socially conscientious business leader - a full sea change appears to be underway.
This shift in attitude was fully confirmed last week when the CBI set up a major new climate change task force involving some of the UK's biggest companies.
The 14-strong group will be chaired by BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen and includes high profile business leaders such as Barclays chairman Marcus Agius, head of the London Stock Exchange Clara Furse and Tesco chief executive Terry Leahy.
The taskforce will present a report to the government and UK businesses later this year featuring recommendations on how the business community can tackle climate change while retaining its competitiveness.
CBI director-general Richard Lambert, who brought the group together, said that businesses had a key role to play in tackling climate change and that urgent action was required. "The time for debate about whether human activity is changing the climate has passed," he said. "The science is clear. The challenge now is for the business community, Government and society as a whole to decide how to respond. This poses a challenge to business, as a major source of emissions, but it also presents significant opportunities."
Separately the CBI also broadly welcomed the EU's latest proposals for establishing the world's first low carbon economy.
In the past, the CBI has appeared suspicious of such proposals, noting that if onerous green regulations are only imposed within the EU European firms would be operating at a competitive disadvantage to international rivals operating in less stringent regulatory environments such as China and India.
But while Lambert insisted that work needed to be done to ensure there is a clear framework by which businesses can meet the EU's targets on renewable energy without risking their international competitiveness he also accepted that "until there is worldwide agreement on how to tackle [climate change] the EU is correct to take sensible, unilateral action".
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