Climate opportunity for business

Alastair Lechler
7 min readMay 6, 2021

Covid-19 has forced us to focus on the here and now, but as we emerge from lockdown 3.0 we are seeing sights lifted to the future. Personal priorities and agendas are being reset. Much has been written about mass identity crises. What was previously accepted as unavoidable or non-negotiable — work/life balance, and perhaps the perks of working in a team, in an office — now removed. A myriad of major companies have accelerated culture change, or hard-wired sustainability into their strategies.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

With public opinion pivoting towards the view that climate change is a global emergency — 64% of people, according to the recent United Nations ‘People’s Climate Vote’ survey — and an escalating realisation that resolving the climate crisis will be far harder than tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, there has never been a more pertinent time to take, and indeed accelerate, climate action.

“Companies that ignore climate change and don’t adapt will go bankrupt without question.”

Mark Carney UN special envoy for climate action and finance, 31 July 2019.

This short article sets out to consider Sustainability in a corporate context and present some solutions to common challenges as business leaders look to more sustainable business models.

While CSR has been apparent for years now, many Boards have realised the importance of having a sustainability strategy in place — with many Boards now agreeing to ESG[1] targets e.g. Net Carbon Zero by 20XX.

Phil Wharton, CIO & Sustainability Advisor comments:

“Traditionally, investors have tended to concentrate on the short-term financial risk to an organisation rather than quantifying and pricing the long-term external impacts on social, human or natural capital. Then accounting for those externalities by investing in initiatives which provide balance across all capitals, in the context of finite natural resources.

This needs to change. CEOs, Executives and investors should be compensated on delivery of long-term value across all capitals, not quarterly financial returns. The material ESG risks to an organisation and the potential opportunities of increased long-term returns related to positive investment in natural, human and social capital, need to be at the top of every…

Alastair Lechler

Social entrepreneur, passionate about people, disruptive innovation - #techforgood, humanity in business. Edinburgh's Running Mayor & Founder of ReBoot CIC