If a business goes green in the forest and no one is around…did it happen? That’s what a climate action plan sounds like if you don’t market it, according to George Washington University business professor, Mark Starik.

Failure in Washington to pass cap and trade legislation and failure in Copenhagen to come to an international agreement mean that businesses are stepping into leadership roles in reducing carbon, but only if it makes business sense.

Marketing is certainly a part of that, according to Starik. Without a marketing plan, it’s just “stealth greening” and it doesn’t make much sense. “If you’re doing a good job you should be telling people about it.”

But businesses are also being pressured by local governments to reduce their carbon impact. From local renewable energy standards to international cap and trade regimes, businesses have to watch policy changes around the world to remain competitive.

Watch this Planet Forward webisode where we discuss the future of business in this changing marketplace.

Planet Forward is a online social network where creative and innovative ideas addressing global challenges are featured, discussed, and evaluated. It is a project of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University.