Corporate Sustainability; Investing in the Future of Business
Corporate sustainability is investing in the future of business by lighting the fire towards a change in production, manufacturing, employee equity, benefits, workplaces, etc. There is a transition in the type of energy sources that is being highly demanded regarding the impending rise in global temperatures. This change will come down to two paradigms; the local grassroots at the bottom and the multi-million dollar corporations and investors at the top. Corporate sustainability is being executed by powerhouse corporations to combat the rising global temperatures in interdisciplinary ways. Researchers at the Mercartor Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Changes has created a carbon countdown clock that calculates the upper, medium, and lower estimate of how much time the planet has in regards to how much more carbon can be release into the atmosphere. This countdown in relative to global warming being capped at the increase of 1.5° or 2° Celsius. The upper, medium, and lower estimates read 23 years, 18 years, and 9 years, respectively.
“In the Paris Agreement, all countries worldwide decided to limit global warming to well below 2°C (ideally as much as 1.5°C) compared to pre-industrial levels. This is extremely ambitious and essentially means that we are tightening our carbon budget. In concrete terms, it means that reaching the 2°C target with a high probability would allow us to emit at maximum only about 980 gigatons of CO2 between 2016 and 2100 into the atmosphere. However, at present the world is still emitting 40 gigatons of CO2 every year. This corresponds to 1268 tons per second. In that context, the remaining budget is shrinking rapidly” (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change).
The demand of divestment from fossil fuels and investment of renewable energy sources will be one that will be executed through equal efforts from local governments, grassroots movements, and wealthy companies and investors. On the corporate sustainability and investment platform, in December 2016, billionaire Bill Gates announced the Breakthrough Energy Ventures investment group that is made up of twenty like-minded businesspeople and investors. The mission of this group is to invest in “scientific breakthroughs that have the potential to deliver cheap and reliable clean energy to the world”. The main initiative is to continue research and investment in projects currently underworks. This project would facilitate those projects to move from the lab stage into the production and sales stages.
According to an article written by Luke Nicholls at edie.net, five hundred and thirty companies, comprising of Hilton, General Mills, and Unilever among others, and over a hundred additional investors participated in signing a statement of support with commitment to three main goals. Through the organization, Low Carbon USA, these companies have joined together to pressure our continued involvement in the Paris Climate Agreement. These goals include:
- Continuation of low-carbon policies to allow the US to meet or exceed our promised national commitment and to increase our nation’s future ambition.
- Investment in the low carbon economy at home and abroad in order to give financial decision-makers clarity and boost the confidence of investors worldwide.
- Continued US participation in the Paris Agreement, in order to provide the long-term direction needed to keep global temperature rise below 2°
Corporate sustainability is defined as “a business approach that creates long-term consumer and employee value by creating a “green” strategy aimed toward the natural environment and taking into consideration every dimension of how a business operates in the social, cultural, and economic environment” (Wikipedia). Societal expectations are currently experiencing a shift due to the impending issues climate change is presenting for the future. This has resulted in large-scale companies and corporations to analyze their top and bottom lines with major considerations of everything from resources, employee happiness, production, manufacturing, long-term/short-term effects of actions, among others. While the funding and lobbying for these issues will be coming from companies and corporations, the grassroots movements at the bottom will be equally as important to continue the momentum towards a carbon-free world.