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Why Corporate Sustainability Leaders Must Resist Trump

Those who support sustainability cannot ignore the elephant in the room. The elephant in question, is one Donald J. Trump. His racist vitriol, irrational penchant for environmental deregulation, and unbridled love for dirty energy are overarching impediments to the three pillars of sustainability.

There was a time that corporate leaderships shied away from politics. However, in the precarious post-truth era of  Orange-Potus, that is simply not possible. Leaders are stepping up to confront hubs of injustice even if they reside at the pinnacles of power.

Corporations that are serious about social justice, environmental protections and climate action cannot avoid the fallout from the US commander-and-chief. Trump has succeeded in advancing the most sinister components of the GOP’s agenda: Eradicating environmental protections, killing climate action and expanding the wealth inequality gap.

The fossil fuel industry has used their considerable financial and logistical resources to help Trump and other Republicans to get elected. Once in power they govern in a way that serves the interests of polluters rather than the American people. Trump also enjoys support from corporate leaders whose myopia leads them to believe that this administration will benefit their bottom line.

Companies resisting Trump are those with a functioning moral compass and a basic understanding of economics. They know that in addition to being wrong about trickle-down economics, Trump’s irrational anti-science policies are on the wrong side of history.

Companies that oppose the Trump administration include those that are invested in sustainability and CSR. In fact Trump is antithetical to firms with any sort of social purpose. There are also a number of international conglomerates that see Trump’s racist and nativist agenda as being an impediment to their international operations.

The conclusion for all leaders with common sense and a conscience is unavoidable. Trump must be resisted and his lies must be challenged. Trump is undermining the competitive advantage of environmentally and socially engaged organizations by making responsible corporate action more expensive. To illustrate consider what Trump has already done to undermine renewables.  Sustainability is not impervious to Trump and his incompetence should not be seen as innocuous.

There really is little choice for sustainability leaders. If they are silent they are complicit in their own undoing. However, if they stand up they can outlast this Orwellian nightmare and be lauded as heroes who stood firm against tyranny. Which Side is Your Business On?


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