An environmental revolution is needed in business

green report

The climate revolution is the biggest change for business since the
industrial revolution. The rules have changed. Procurement rules are different,
energy and material costs are different, legislation will be different and
customer expectations and questions are already different.

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We do not need the ice cap to melt to change the business environment, we
just need people (ie customers) to believe it might.

There will be winners and losers. What will the business landscape look like
in five years’ time? It will not just be about passive compliance with climate
legislation. Success will depend upon innovation providing answers to questions
we are already aware of, and to questions we don’t yet know about. The winning
businesses will be inventing answers to environmental challenges at the same
time as implementing them.

The wise old philosopher Socrates pointed out that a good leader should know
his or her business and that in any given situation, people will tend to follow
the man or woman who knows what to do and how to do it.

So how can modern business leaders claim knowledge if they are not even
starting to become literate on the changes in the environment and the impact it
will have on their business model?

The coming century will demand the best of us. Add to climate change the
threat of pandemic, mass famine and migration on an unprecedented scale and you
can see that this revolution will demand the best of humanity, science,
technology, art and business.

A scary world? Too scary? Shall we all go down the pub instead? But don’t we
business people know how to start to tackle this? If good business is about
applying ideas and technology to create great solutions and bring wealth, that
places us completely in the front line.

If today’s business leaders are not environmental leaders, we will risk b
eing like the outpost of a dying empire – and history tells us exactly how
painful that can be.

In this future world of business, finance professionals and accountants have
a key role to play. We have great analytical skills, an aptitude for planning
and we grapple with complex facts and attempt to communicate them succinctly.

Who else is better placed to help lead the delivery of results that the City
will thank us for, but might also make our friends and family proud?

Gaynor Coley is managing director of the Eden Project

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