Who can help us face a better future? We are facing a serious problem: unstoppable climate change is ravaging the world and costing a fortune. Governments can’t, don’t know how, or don’t want to deal with it. The answer to the question at the beginning is, then, business.
But realistically, this effort must be shared. The question that arises in the face of this challenge is: what concrete steps will government, business and individuals take to reduce emissions as quickly as possible and put us on the path to net zero?
If we really want to address the climate crisis, both on a personal and business level, instead of putting the onus on politicians alone, what we could do is educate families, schools, universities and businesses about clean energy and sustainability. From there, we could get actively involved and not as mere spectators who think “the problem is someone else’s problem”.
The important thing to remember is that net zero emissions targets mean little without a concrete plan to reduce emissions in this decade.
Many people are asking: What does net zero emissions mean?
Zero net emissions’ refers to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions removed from the atmosphere.
Getting to net zero means that we can still produce some emissions, as long as they are offset by processes that reduce the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
It’s like a balance. The production of greenhouse gas emissions tips the balance, and we want to rebalance that balance, which means that no more greenhouse gases can be added to the atmosphere in a given year than are removed.
Companies are committed to Net-Zero, but only one in five is ready to innovate the necessary solutions.
Two-thirds of companies in Boston Consulting Group’s Global Innovation Survey 2022 rank climate and sustainability (C&S) as a top corporate priority, while more than half report that they are committed C&S innovators, ranking both innovation and C&S among their top three priorities.
However, according to BCG, only one in five companies is ready to act, meaning they have incorporated E&S priorities into their innovation drivers, have built the capabilities they need and are ready to develop the product, process and business model innovations they can deliver.
As more large companies announce net zero emissions commitments on an almost daily basis, the innovation readiness gap between commitment and capacity arising from research becomes an existential problem.
While many companies talk about sustainability/sustainability and commit to zero net emissions, very few of them have actually done the work to integrate E&S priorities into their innovation drivers and produce tangible results.
At the same time, investors, regulators, customers and shareholders expect large companies and their CEOs to take the lead in making real progress against global warming.
Better than net zero, net positive.
Doing the right thing has benefits. Businesses have much to gain by doing the right thing and contributing to solving the world’s biggest shared problems. Each at its own scale and with its own resources can help improve our present.
While there are many companies announcing almost every day their commitment to zero carbon emissions, the gap between their commitment and the actual capabilities to achieve it is becoming a problem.
Simultaneously, there are others that are already developing plans to go beyond zero. They are looking for net positive, which is nothing more than not only neutralizing the negative impact, but also starting to develop a positive one.
Net Positive companies will be those that improve the well-being of everyone they impact and at all scales: every product, service, every operation, country and region and for all stakeholders, from employees to suppliers, from communities to customers. With an eye on future generations and the planet itself.
What else can we do?
Planting trees, new forests, developing extraction technologies such as direct air capture, while providing access to start-ups working on affordable clean energy solutions.
And also, to have vision, leadership and commitment from the head of the organization to achieve sustainable success.
Apply a financial mindset that understands how sustainability actions contribute directly to business value, whether through revenue generation, cost control, risk management or innovation.
Connect sustainability objectives with strategy and collaborate closely with customers and suppliers.
Measure greenhouse gas emissions and resulting impacts, including climate change (data collection, analysis and interpretation).
TOTEMs leading positive change.
But also, as I wrote in my book TOTEM, we must rethink what a company is, how it grows and profits, what its purpose is and how it drives change, for the better, in the world.
At TOTEM Branding we are very clear that words that are not followed by actions are worthless. What transforms is action.
For these reasons we want to disseminate these initiatives that we believe are an important step to generate the change and transformation that the world needs. The creation of a business model must be allowed that allows at the same time to obtain benefits and solve problems such as those mentioned above, without increasing the existing ones.
To generate opportunities for innovation, savings and to build together a culture oriented to a sustainable purpose that is more humane and connected.
There are many options for positive change. Our political, business, academic and social leaders must be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.