COP28 is not that important

Government leaders won’t safeguard the future of your children. That responsibility falls on you.

In essence, that’s the takeaway from COP28. The event concluded with the usual modest advancements that fall short of addressing the magnitude of the crisis we’ve created.

 However, businesses hold the power to ignite transformative change, turning every innovative step into a giant leap forward in the fight against climate change. The decisions made in executive and board meetings are crucial. And although this responsibility is immense, it’s accompanied by substantial rewards.

 The specific choices and actions, or the absence thereof, will dictate the extent of the temperature increases we’ll face, shaping the severity of our climate in the coming decades.

Think about the conversation you’d want to have with your children and grandchildren. One day, they’ll ask what you did in the 2020s. A time when we had all the necessary knowledge and resources to rectify years of inaction and poor leadership.

I do not doubt that climate change is on your agenda. But it’s time to intensify your efforts. The current pace might have been adequate if we had collectively acted on the knowledge backed by solid science for over two decades. Now, we’re at a point where we must expedite implementation, which complicates things.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres summed it up in March: “Everything, everywhere, all at once.” In other words, we can’t wait for others to act or assume our contribution is too insignificant to matter. The good news is there’s much to gain by fully committing to the climate agenda.


This includes:

·      Enhancing your competitiveness. The market increasingly demands sustainable versions of everyday products and services. Innovate to create better, sustainable versions of what you offer, and the market will reward you. This requires serious innovation, as you need to develop alternatives that meet needs effectively, offer attractive value and pricing, and contribute positively to the world.

·      Attracting and retaining talent. People want to work where they feel they’re making a difference. By aligning your business with climate solutions, you’ll see increased engagement and appeal. This has been a consistent trend across numerous companies I’ve engaged with over the past 15 years.


Other business benefits include boosting innovation, enhancing customer loyalty, attracting partnerships, and strengthening your brand. With the finance sector integrating EU legislation to report sustainable investment volumes, expect more favourable financing for trailblazers.

You might think these are significant changes, and you’re not wrong. Revamping your business is a considerable task, involving major change projects. But remember, maintaining the status quo won’t be easy either. As public opinion shifts, businesses stuck in old ways will increasingly be seen as inadequate.

Sticking to business as usual will align you with political leaders who fail to deliver what’s needed.