Then they will turn around and argue that federal law provides no remedy,” said Simons. “It is all about a route to dismissing these cases.” The outlines of the oil industry’s defence have emerged in newspaper columns pushing back against any parallels with big tobacco and claiming it is the end user, ordinary Americans, that causes pollution. Gale Norton, a former Colorado attorney general who led the state’s litigation against the cigarette companies and later worked as a legal counsel for Shell, has attacked the Boulder lawsuits as a money grab. “About the only thing that ‘Big Tobacco’ and ‘Big Oil’ have in common … are the deep pockets of the defendants,” she wrote in the Denver Post . Her column highlighted her position as state attorney general, and later as U.S. Department of Interior secretary under President George W Bush, but made no mention of her work for the oil industry. “What is our own individual liability, since annual greenhouse gas emissions amount to almost 20 tons per person?” The Denver Post editorial board followed a similar line in denouncing the “false equivalence” between the cigarette companies and big oil, and said consumers bore the greater responsibility for the climate recommended you read crisis. “The companies didn’t create the demand for fossil fuels. We did through our lifestyles and consumption, including every single member of the communities who now wish to target corporations for a legal shakedown,” it claimed. “The companies didn’t create the demand for fossil fuels.” That criticism stings in climate-conscious Boulder and other high-income communities that are susceptible to charges of hypocrisy in part because areas of Colorado have some of the highest carbon footprints in the country from heating and cooling larger than average homes. Max Boykoff, director of the environmental studies program at get the facts the University of Colorado Boulder. Max Boykoff, a professor in the environmental studies department at the University of Colorado Boulder, acknowledged the problem, alongside the popularity of high fuel consumption vehicles. But he said that should not be used by the oil companies to absolve themselves of responsibility for a crisis they have played a leading part in creating. “These lawsuits are one of the tools to hold both these companies accountable,” he said. Finn said there was no doubt that people moving into the mountains have contributed to the damage from wildfires in part by stopping the natural processes of thinning out the forest. But the Gold Hill fire chief said the climate crisis was “a big part” of the surging heat and number of fires, and that corporate campaigns to deny the warnings from scientists played an important role. “The science has been there for years.


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However, it’s not clear who actually reads all these reports—and the connection between either voluntary or mandatory disclosures on the one hand, and the production of useful, digestible, actionable data on the other hand, is not clear. This is equally true for investors and customers. How does a stock picker or a conscious consumer know what they are buying, given the complex and growing set of expectations on everything from reduction in pollution to racial and economic equity? Metrics designed to make simplistic comparisons between companies may not be up to the task. Today’s emphasis on sustainability reporting has more in common with the “quality” movement that took hold of industry in the 1980s than it does with accounting or public reporting, then or since. TQM, or Total Quality Management (lean manufacturing in today’s vernacular) recognizes that to produce a quality product requires a continuous and ever-changing process, which is not easily captured as an “outcome” or metric. It’s the same with the pursuit of trust, or sustainability, or equity: You are never done. For one, the definition of a quality product changes as knowledge, technology, and public expectations evolve. TQM requires continuous improvement; it demands forward-looking targets and measures designed to better understand what is happening on the factory floor—not backward-looking, static metrics designed to reward or punish. Sustainability, like quality, is not a destination. It’s a mindset—a commitment to continuous improvement. Today’s measures of progress fail to capture and guide the work that is ahead of us, whether the goal is reducing carbon across the economy, or economic mobility for workers, or building a culture of equity and fairness. For example, a common metric used to signal a favorable culture is the diversity of the board of directors. Easy to measure? Kind of. The best window into the state of conversation and change in the company or board? Hardly. When Goldman Sachs announced that it would no longer take companies public unless they had at least one woman on the board, it earned a lot of press , but also eyerolls. One woman of nine, or of fifteen? (If the standard was designed as a nudge, why not make it meaningful?) The current, pitiful board stats on gender diversity make it seem like Goldman is taking an important stand and wielding its influence with less enlightened companies. Some might even fall in line.