In the heat of conference season, it’s easy to get cynical about all talk and no action. We absolutely need campaigning and pressure to tackle enormous global challenges, but we also need to frame these challenges as possible to address.
From New York Climate Week to on-the-ground action with clients in Iceland and South Africa, we are seeing reasons to be positive. They all have people at their core.
- More heads above the parapet – increased participation at global events is a positive sign and any business leader who breaks cover to say they are working hard to address challenges is a good thing.
- Greenwash antennae are up – with ambiguous claims being called out and increased scrutiny on what ‘good’ looks like, evidence is key. It is exciting to see terms like ‘net zero’ starting to be called out as focus shifts from target setting to results.
- CFOs are becoming the sustainability champions – the need for verified evidence is reiterated by the new standards from the International Sustainability Standards Board which have kick-started a new era for mandatory disclosures. Progressive accountants and finance leaders are starting to rethink what value really means.
- Big business is leading the way – as governments waver on difficult decisions, businesses are stepping up pressure. 131 companies representing near $1 trillion in global annual revenue recently signed an open letter urging governments to phase out fossil fuels as part of a We Mean Business Coalition campaign in the build up to COP28.
- On-the-ground action matters more than ever – with corporate citizenship seeing a refocused resurgence. From the urgency of the pandemic to the current cost-of-living crisis, progressive businesses are starting to build local communities into their operations models as part of their mission to create a more responsible economy.
- Local leaders are showing what’s possible – with mayors and civic authorities using their powers to implement change and benefit their residents, be that through local infrastructure, investment or incentivisation to enable individual behaviour change.
- We are all climate activists – as we recently saw in the breadth of people at New York Climate Week, and the suited participants in the Queue for Climate and Nature on London’s Millennium Bridge. The variety of voices for and approaches to climate action continues to rise.
More please – we need everyone in. Together, we can, will and must lead by example and keep change possible.