Building Green Business : Sustainability has become a necessity for both businesses and the environment. Reduced environmental effect was once considered a “good to have” for businesses. Employees, consumers, and investors are putting increasing pressure on leaders to take action on environmental challenges. It’s now a must as well as a legitimate and lucrative business opportunity.
Sustainability was a niche problem for many firms until just over a decade ago, which is hard to believe now. Concerns about the changing global climate—and the impact of human activity on emissions—had been building for decades, but just 20% of S&P 500 businesses submitted sustainability or corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports in 2011. While these studies spoke about sustainability, concrete action was rare.
Sustainability has emerged as a significant value driver in the last five years. As it became clear that current measures to limit temperature rises might not be enough, corporations began to see the chance to address the problem. Organizations began to adopt and promote environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures, and the number of corporations subscribing to science-based sustainability targets more than tripled between 2020 and 2021. Finally, corporate entrants began to promote sustainability as a strategic lever for creating value, and “climate unicorns” began to emerge.