COMPAS Poll/Survey
September 25, 2006

Greenhouse Gas Policies for Corporations: Rare and Improbable - It’s a Government Responsibility

  A Weekly BDO Dunwoody CEO Business Leader Poll by COMPAS in the Financial Post
Policy and Opinion
Business and Finance
CEOs and business leaders on the COMPAS panel report that businesses rarely adopt environmental policies except as legally required. Very few of the companies they work for or know intimately have a policy for auditing the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of their land-use (locational), manufacturing, purchasing, or other corporate decisions. In the absence of legal obligations to do so, almost none are expected to adopt such policies in the future. It is as if companies act on the Milton Friedman prescription to focus on profit.

Apart from reporting on company policies, respondents were asked about their personal beliefs. They were asked to assess the Friedmanite view that companies are there to make money and not engage in other activities as well as the corporate-social-responsibility (CSR) perspective that companies have an obligation to adopt low emission environmental practices even in the absence of profit-motive. Members of the panel tend to prefer the former. The Friedmanite view is the more popular.

Though companies almost never adopt greenhouse gas-related policies, they do sometimes adopt policies for indoor air quality that exceed legal requirements for doing so.

Panelists do not deny that greenhouse emissions are important to reduce. Indeed, they tend to advocate greenhouse gas-related policies as a priority environmental focus for government. They just do not see much of a role or obligation for business.

These are the key findings from the most recent survey of the COMPAS CEO panel for The National Post under the auspices of BDO Dunwoody LLP.

View / Download complete poll in PDF Click here to download this survey as a PDF