Language key to engagement

26th November 2014

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  • Business & Industry ,
  • Products ,
  • Management ,
  • Supply chain ,
  • Employee engagement


Fiona Quinlan

The government needs to develop more pragmatic language, action and incentives if businesses are to buy into the low carbon and sustainability agenda, according to the Management Consultancies Association (MCA).

In its new report, Low carbon, higher growth, the MCA argues for the government to emphasise more the connection between the low-carbon agenda and prudent resource husbandry and cost reduction. “[The] government should then factor these assumptions into how it uses language in ministerial pronouncements, campaigns or any other references to low carbon and sustainability,” states the report.

It says MCA members contributing to the research for the report were clear that highlighting the self-interest aspects of the low-carbon economy is crucial to building a consensus for low-carbon initiatives. “The success of the low-carbon agenda may depend on showing sceptics that it is at least compatible with, and even an enhancement to, traditional business objectives, such as cost reduction and growth,” it says.

The MCA notes sustainability for businesses is primarily about sensible husbandry of scarce resources and advises that the language accompanying low-carbon messages should focus on this. The report points out that a retailer would not question such an approach in the area of stock management, but describing it as “green” may obscure the positive aspects of conserving energy, fuel and carbon-intensive raw materials.

Focusing the discussion on carbon and other aspects of sustainability on cost reduction and resource management should ensure the language retains its meaning and help redirect sustainability towards core business functions and personnel, says the MCA, which represents consultancies in the UK.


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