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Wanted: Capitalist to Save the Environment

When big business figures stand besides social causes, the world seems to take note. Which capitalist will side with the planet by making environmental destruction a crime against peace?

What’s the Latest Development?

British lawyer Polly Higgins wants to outlaw environmental destruction (ecocide) by making the offense a crime against peace before the international criminal court, which would require amending the 1968 Rome Statute. If you think that sounds unlikely, consider the current approach: “Attempting to get 194 nations to agree targets to re-engineer their economies and cut consumption, and then keep their promises.” To make her case to the public, it would help Higgins to recruit a powerful leader from the business world.

What’s the Big Idea?

Business leaders have a history of catalyzing social change. Charles Grant, chairman of the East India Company, which once controlled over half of world trade, became an early advocate for the abolitionist movement. But which contemporary titan could take the reigns of environmental protection? Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Richard Branson are the usual suspects. Others might include Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, who as advocated for water sustainability, and Paul Polman, who famously stopped reporting the company’s quarterly earnings. 

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