Clearing the Air

Today marks the end of climate talks in Copenhagen, where world leaders took unprecedented, if modest, steps toward ending global warming. In this edition of Drucker Apps, you’ll find tools that will help you understand why analyzing risk is crucial to environmental management, how international agreement is the key to cleaning up the earth, why carrots work better than sticks when it comes to making things green, and how measurement is vital to bringing about change. These insights—at once timely and timeless—are based on the ideas and ideals of the late Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern management (who took to calling himself an “old environmentalist” nearly 40 years ago).

At what cost?

“The real challenge to the environmental situation is to think through what risks to afford and what risks are not permissible, and where to draw the line, and what price to pay for what degree of insurance.”— Peter F. Drucker in a 1971 speech

Think globally, act locally

“Concern for the ecology, the endangered habitat of the human race, will increasingly have to be built into economic policy. And increasingly concern for the ecology, and policies in respect of it, will transcend national boundaries. The main dangers to the human habitat are increasingly global.” — Peter F. Drucker, The New Realities

  • How transnational commitment must be balanced with local action. Read more here.
  • Hear Terry Tamminem, director of the Climate Policy Program at the New America Foundation, discuss why smaller entities are most effective at driving real environmental change.

Excerpt from The New Realities reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. Copyright ©1989 by HarperCollins: all rights reserved.

Incentivizing change

“The final delusion is that the proper way to bring about a clean environment is through punitive legislation. We do need prohibitions and laws forbidding actions that endanger and degrade the environment. But more than that, we need incentives to preserve and improve it.”— Peter F. Drucker, “Saving the Crusade,” Harper’s

  • The trick of “making virtue pay.” Read more here.
  • Watch Kerri Smith, a board member of the Rainforest Alliance, discuss how corporations with eco-friendly products are gaining an edge with customers.

“Saving the Crusade” by Peter F. Drucker (Harper’s, January 1972) reprinted by permission of the Peter F. Drucker Literary Trust. Copyright ©1972 by Peter F. Drucker.

Measure for measure

“What we measure and how we measure determine what will be considered relevant and determine, thereby, not just what we see, but what we—and others—do.”— Peter F. Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices

  • Why measurement is “all-important in the planning process.” Read more here.
  • Watch Sarah Schwald, president of the Drucker School of Management’s Net Impact chapter, explain why Wal-Mart’s sustainable product index could “change the way business operates.”