Change is truly in the air. Not only is the atmosphere and Earth’s climate changing, but so is the metaphorical atmosphere in the political and business world. The awfulness of the global situation – the dwindling resources, the exploding population and damage to the environment – can clearly be seen. The world, therefore, is starting to act and to alter its destructive course.
Companies are lining up like never before for climate action
- Direct action to lower their carbon emissions and costs by buying large amounts of renewable energy (Apple, HP, Google, Amazon, Dow, and saying No to coal, gas and oil.
- CEOs from the world’s largest companies are backing a strong climate deal (Bank of America, Citi, Goldman, Levi, Gap, Adidas)
- European oil companies advocate for a price on carbon (BP, Eni, Shell, Statoil, Total).
One of the reasons the Paris talks in 2015 succeeded was the clear support from the business community. CEOs from many of the world’s largest companies put out public statements backing a strong climate deal.
In Wall Street, Morgan Stanley raised the stock price target for companies based on how well they manage environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. The fossil fuel divestment movement is growing quickly, gathering together universities, cities, institutions with more than $3 trillion in assets.
The growth of the Green Economy is already happening. Major companies and large corporations have invested considerable funds in projects dealing with sustainability. Bill Gates of Microsoft opened a $2 billion fund to research renewable energies.
- HSBC says that by 2020, the climate economy will top 2.2 trillion annually
- Deep changes to multi-million-dollar sectors are taking place: transportation, energy, construction, water – looking for clever, efficient and environmentally sustainable solutions.
These changes are also rooted in the consumption behavior of the new generation. Research shows that millennials are twice as likely to buy from brands with good management of environmental and social issues, and twice as likely to check product packaging for sustainability performance. For packaged goods and food in particular, it’s the era of what many call the “clean label.”
Sustainability values are taking hold and becoming stronger. The exposure of VW’s and Exxon’s misdeeds (lying about emissions, 2015) demonstrates that transparency is a powerful tool. Embedded sustainability efforts clearly result in a positive impact on business performance.
The time to study Sustainability is now. The world needs leaders who know how to provide proper direction in this ever-growing reality.