GBR Essay Example

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Is government or business best placed to address climate change?

Is government or business best placed to address climate change? Discuss, using examples and drawing upon the concepts taught in this unit.


Climate change can be defined as an alteration in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over a long period of time. It is an aspect that can be attributed to various factors such as plate tectonics, volcanic eruptions, and disparities in solar radiation received by Earth, and biotic processes among others. In the recent past, some human activities have also been cited as major causes of climatic changes that are being experienced in different parts of the world and hence the concept of global warming. The fact that climate change has had major negative effects on the environment is enough reason that some intervention ought to be put in place to avoid further deterioration (Shove, 2010). Various parties could be involved in addressing climate change, including the government and businesses.

This piece of work will give a critical discussion of the concept of climate change and the various aspects associated with it. Nonetheless, much emphasis will be placed on what is best positioned to address climate change, between the government and business. The paper will take a debate form of discussion whereby both sides will be evaluated. It is however clear that businesses are better placed compared to the government.


According to NASA (2017), the Earth’s climate has been undergoing changes throughout history. Many cycles of glacial advance and retreat have been experienced over the years. The sudden end of the last ice age has been cited as the start of the modern climate era as well as human civilization. Despite the fact that the climatic changes usually have major consequences on the environment and what is contained therein, they are attributed to minor variations in the orbit of the Earth, which alter the amount of solar energy that the planet gets. The present warming trend that is being experienced is of specific importance since most of it can be associated to human activities. Also, over the years, the effects are proceeding at an alarming rate.

Some of the indications of rapid climate change include the following; rise in the sea level whereby in the last century, the global sea level rose about eight inches. It is worth noting that the rate in the last 20 years is almost twofold that of the last century. There has also been global temperature rise since late 19th century, with most warming being experienced over the last 35 years. Surface temperatures continue to rise as time progress and this is not a good thing. Other effects of climate change include warming of the oceans, shrinking ice sheets, declining arctic sea ice, decreased snow cover, ocean acidification and glacial retreat among others (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014).

All these are enough justifications that something ought to be done for the sake of the present as well as future generations. Different parties could play various roles towards avoiding further deterioration by being mindful of their activities and taking good care of the environment. The government is one party that has such powers and can implement different strategies on the same. On the other hand, businesses also have a role to play in addressing climate change. This could even be done as part of corporate social responsibility.


The major question is which between the government and business is best placed to address climate change. Researcher (2010) asserts that as a result of the negative effects of climate change on the environment and the general society, individuals, groups and organizations are now conscious of what is happening around them. Strategies that are aimed at conserving the environment are now being embraced as people can understand the importance and consequences involved. Environmental responsibility is now a fundamental aspect especially when it comes to thinking of the future. Businesses are in a position to act as the most effective catalyst when it comes to the creation of a more sustainable planet. It is also worth noting that the businesses are also increasingly expected to play the role, as part of corporate social responsibility.

Businesses could be better placed than the government in dealing with climate change and its effects. One reason for this is that the public holds them to greater standards on environmental aspects than it does to government. People believe that businesses are less burdened by bureaucracy and politics. They are also associated with more resources that could help them to not only act but influence others to do so. It is also worth noting that today’s progressive business organizations are aware of the responsibility of taking care of the environment and have embraced it. Big corporations are usually larger than many countries and as such, they have a lot of powers and influence. The big companies have a global reach and standards that work towards allowing them to directly impact environments not only on a local level but also beyond boundaries and across nations. The global expansion of businesses also allows them to construct factories with proven standards and technologies that are usually way beyond the requirements of local governments (Balkyte & Tvaronavičiene, 2010). This places them at a better position to address climate change.

Welford (2013) argues that businesses have an incredible opportunity to influence individual behavior. For instance, workers can be provided with incentives to make use of public transportation, recycle as well as contribute time to community environmental efforts. Businesses are also in a position to influence consumer bases to agree to environmentally responsible behavior. All these are worthy efforts in allowing for sustainability. Businesses, particularly multinationals corporations are better placed to assume decisive leadership and have resources and infrastructure needed to attain considerable results. This allows them to meet the expectations of the consumers.

There is also a new trend of many businesses viewing sustainable products as a new element of their business. They have therefore been engaging in processes and procedures that are meant at engineering and re-engineering the products so as to be recyclable in nature. Clean production processes are also utilized to create less pollution and waste. These are positive efforts that are beneficial not only for the businesses but also for the general society. If this is to continue, there is no doubt that in the future, the businesses will enjoy a healthy and sustainable work force in addition to clean water and quality of life. In turn, this will translate to happy employees and more consumers (Kolk & Van Tulder, 2010). A successful world allows businesses to succeed and the vice versa is true.

Despite the fact that businesses are seen to be best placed to address climate change compared to the government, it is worth noting that both parties have a significant role to play in managing environmental challenges. While high-profile business have been involved in implementing strong policies on issues such as climate change and forest protection, local and state governments are positively responding to general public support for environmental protection and conservation (Wei & Kong, 2014). There is the belief by businesses that consumers want to do business with organizations that depict strong environmental values and workers feel good when their employers have desirable environmental record. On the other hand, most governments and politicians believe that they ought to choose between the environment and prosperity and mostly opt for the latter. They fail to enact, enforce or even protect proper environmental policies (Baker, 2012). Although governments could have the power and influence over the environment, lack of interest or priority on the same make them not to act accordingly. Nonetheless, all is not lost and the government still has a chance to be more environmental conscious and implement policies and strategies that are aimed at enhancing sustainability and making the environment a better place for the current as well as future generations. When different governments from various nations set on enhancing sustainability, the negative climate change effects experienced around the globe are likely to reduce (Moss et al, 2010). All in all, a combination of efforts from individuals, businesses and governments would yield better results when it comes to safeguarding the environment.


From the above discussion, it is apparent that the issue of climate change cannot go unmentioned when discussing about the environment today. This is more so because it has had a number of negative effects on the environment for instance global warming. This has brought in the need for some strategies to be put into place in an effort to save the environment from further deterioration for the sake of the current and future generation. Both the government and businesses could in one way or the other be involved in addressing the problem of climate change and its effects. From the discussion, it is evident that businesses are in a better place to address climate change compared to the government. This is more so because public holds them to a higher standard with environmental issues and it expects them to participate in taking good care of the environment so that they can be loyal in return.


Baker, S. (Ed.). (2012). Politics of Sustainable Development. New York: Routledge.

Balkyte, A., & Tvaronavičiene, M. (2010). Perception of competitiveness in the context of sustainable development: facets of “sustainable competitiveness”. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 11(2), 341-365.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2014). Climate Change 2014–Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Regional Aspects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kolk, A., & Van Tulder, R. (2010). International business, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. International business review, 19(2), 119-125.

Moss, R. H. et al (2010). The next generation of scenarios for climate change research and assessment. Nature, 463(7282), 747-756.

NASA (2017).Climate change: How do we know? Retrieved from

Researcher, C.Q., (2010). Issues for Debate in Corporate Social Responsibility: Selections from CQ Researcher. London: SAGE.

Shove, E. (2010). Beyond the ABC: climate change policy and theories of social change. Environment and planning A, 42(6), 1273-1285.

Wei, F., & Kong, Y. (2014). Government governance, legal environment and sustainable economic development. Sustainability, 6(4), 2248-2263.

Welford, R. (2013). Hijacking environmentalism: Corporate responses to sustainable development. New York: Routledge.