In early June 1972, world leaders met in Stockholm, Sweden for the first-ever global conference on the environment and sustainable development. This past week, the UN system returned to Stockholm after 50 years for a global stock-take on the progress made since then, and to give leaders an opportunity to meet and reestablish momentum behind the sustainable development goals after the major setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the immediate priorities for both business and society at large is the need for sustainable transformation. With climate change, overconsumption and the need to build back better - it is clear that organisations who do not have a solid sustainable development plan now risk consumers disengaging, employees leaving and investors refusing to invest.
The last in a series of major United Nations climate reports arrived with a thud on Monday. But if the previous two reports chronicled all the ways in which the climate crisis is an existential danger, the new report is a call to action. Call it the get-shit-done report.
What is a sustainable business practice? I’m sure many people if pressed, couldn’t quite put their finger on precisely what it means. While it’s undefined, there’s no dark art to it – it’s simply enhancing the way you generate revenue or manage costs – in a sustainability-related way