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BW Businessworld

Corporates And Sustainability: Will They See Eye To Eye?

With companies looking to increase their Environment Sustainability and Governance (ESG) scores, this issue assumes significance in the corporate world now more than ever.

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While environment sustainability and capitalism continue to be a contentious topic. While we are yet to reach a point of consensus about right and wrong, there is a healthy dialogue emerging around it. With companies looking to increase their Environment Sustainability and Governance (ESG) scores, this issue assumes significance in the corporate world now more than ever. 

Along the same tangent, day two of the Monaco Awards saw the participation of notable companies like Vertoro, IPG, Circulariti, MCPV, Carbon GeoCapture, among others. All participants were able to present their pitch and the seminal work they are doing while making a dent in the business space. They ranged from macro processes to curb pollution to granular services like handling a niche space in the food processing industry. Some other interesting spaces covered include the washing and cleaning industry, which was aimed to be made more sustainable in terms of water usage.  

Protecting the Earth: Where do We Stand?

A key highlight of the seminar was a panel on ‘Prototyping an Earth+Future’, which primarily focused on maintain the existing status quo of the planet so things do not get worse. Talking about this, the speaker said, “What we have beyond sustainability is regeneration. Quite a few funds have come out that they are regenerative. When we look at the trajectory of ecological design, it focuses on efficiencies and doing things right. We now have extinction rights that are incomparable.” Some other facts were brought to light, for instance, we are globally at a 2.3 Degree trajectory while IPCC demands it to be 1.5 Degree.  

Today they are looking for a narrative that will spark action. “How we are actually going to do it is by integrating behavioral economics, marketing and communication, public relation, media strategy, content, and how it works holistically together.” Business creators are viewed as creators and shapers of the narrative that is fed to the masses, and therefore have a pivotal role in framing communication strategies to the public. 

What do corporates say?

Further, in a special interview with Peter Mather, Chairman, bp Europe says, “It is a period of monumental change, monumental challenge, which is incredibly exciting and incredibly scary.”, when speaking about the energy sector in an era of sustainability and green practices. If established energy companies do not respond in an accelerated manner to climate change, then it can become a major problem. While one cannot switch away from fossil fuels overnight, a gradual shift is possible. Another key challenge for corporates is keeping the shareholders happy, who may not be on the same page but want quick results. “The government is looking at the best business models to increase carbon capture storage and increase the use of Hydrogen.”, Mather adds.  

We are at an interesting confluence of capitalism and sustainability. There is a constant tug of war between the two sides, but only time will tell the eventual consequences.