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  • Robert Hinkley

Thought for the Day

11/25. Under the law, boards of directors are elected to be responsible for managing corporations. They elect the company’s officers and provide oversight regarding its major decisions. At a company which emits significant amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs), they are the people at the company who can make the emissions stop.

When they decide not to stop, they are favouring their company’s financial interests over the environment. One way to characterize this behaviour is greed.

If it can’t be stopped, the greed can overwhelm the public interest and destroy it. This is where we are with GHGs, global warming and climate

Photo by Richard Miller

change. Good people at big companies with the power to make the emissions stop, aren’t doing so. The environment is being severely damaged. If it’s not personal greed, what makes them keep going?

The answer is simple, the corporate law obligates them to “act in the best interests of their company” by protecting its massive investments in the operations which are causing the emissions. Their choice is either shut down those operations and write off the investments or continue profiting at the expense of the environment.

Their legal duty as directors ties their hands. Stopping the emissions and incurring the adverse financial consequences which go with it cannot be considered “acting in the best interests of the company.” The inevitable result is corporate behaviour (i.e. continuing emissions) which is detrimental to people and all life.

Tomorrow we’ll deal with what can be done about it.

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