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1. The Net Zero Moment
Four decades after sustainability first emerged as a concept, we are witnessing a critical ‘net zero moment’. First gradually, and now suddenly, companies are making ‘net zero’ pledges to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. This represents a substantial and welcome upgrade of ambition regarding climate change, but poses the obvious challenge. In March, a survey by Standard Chartered found that 64 percent of senior corporate executives do not believe that net zero commitments are commercially viable, contradicting the longstanding ESG narrative that ecological sustainability is a ‘win-win’ – good for profit and planet.
The contradiction finally reveals that there have all along been two fundamentally different interpretations of ‘sustainability’. The win-win claim of sustaina…