Melbourne Business School News Why the world's fight against COVID-19 gives hope for sustainability

Why the world's fight against COVID-19 gives hope for sustainability

The response to COVID-19 may have "unfrozen the system" when it comes to tackling climate change, says Professor of Business Strategy Glenn Hoetker.

"The unprecedented response to the COVID-19 crisis is giving some sustainability experts like me hope for the future," he says.

"The way COVID-19 has brought us together shows us what we could do to tackle climate change and make significant progress towards sustainability."

Professor Hoetker is the MBS Foundation Chair of Sustainability and Business at Melbourne Business School. He believes the worldwide response to COVID-19 may dramatically change attitudes on issues like climate change.

"I think it's actually going to be really empowering in retrospect. I mean, the next few months are going to be tough, from everything they tell us. But I think we're going to come through relatively well, and that's due to joint efforts and shared sacrifice," he says.

"Once you've done that, the idea that a challenge is too big to take on, that's a lot less credible."

Even more importantly, the sudden shock to the global economic system provided by COVID-19 might be enough to unfreeze current practices and allow for widespread change.

"One of the things we know in organisational change is that it can be thought of as a three-stage process," Professor Hoetker says.

"First, you have to unfreeze the current system, then you make the transition to the desired changes, then you freeze those new practices in place.

"For reasons that are entirely unrelated to sustainability, that first stage has happened. These enormous disruptions have really unfrozen the current system.

"That creates an opportunity, as we get back up to speed, to put practices in place that are going to help us with what's, frankly, another substantial challenge to our healthy existence."

Watch the above video interview with Professor Hoetker to learn more.

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