ESG: regenerating the planet is something very urgent

The latest climate changes are unprecedented, and we need immediate, comprehensive and high impact actions to fight them.
The world needs solutions that have not been invented yet. (Getty Images/Getty Images)
The world needs solutions that have not been invented yet. (Getty Images/Getty Images)
BússolaPublicado em 24/08/2021 às 12:11.

By Danilo Maeda*

One of the key findings of the most recent report produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is that global warming from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has already delivered irreversible effects. This is the case of melting ice caps and glaciers, rising sea levels and ocean acidification.

Recent climate changes are unprecedented and are directly related to the increase in the frequency of extreme weather events such as heat waves, prolonged droughts, and torrential rains. The question now is how to reverse this process and deal with the consequences of the heating already happening by the accumulated emissions in recent years.

The report points out that we have one last chance. To achieve this, actions to fight climate change need to be extensive, immediate and of high impact. To mitigate the global warming cycle, the planet urgently needs to become carbon neutral and drastically reduce other GHG emissions.

The same sense of urgency applies to social issues. We have been following, both globally and locally, the deterioration of advances in issues such as eradicating poverty, fighting hunger and reducing inequalities. Not to mention the promotion of peace and democracy.

In other words, the levels of impact caused on ecosystems and the severity of social problems impose that the objective of promoting sustainable development (according to the  Brundtland report), to meet today's needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs) will only be possible with the adoption of a wide range of concepts of regenerative economy.

The proposition goes beyond reconciling the generation of wealth with responsible socio-environmental actions but understanding that purpose is the engine of long-term profitability, as defended, for example, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock.. This means developing “green swan” type solutions that according to John Elkington, who coined the concept (among others, such as the triple bottom line) are “systemic solutions to global challenges”. It goes beyond not causing damage. It is to generate a large and positive social and environmental impact without side effects in other areas.

This is a challenging scenario, but there is always the bright side. Demand for such innovations will grow very fast in the coming years. To avoid high-cost social, environmental, and economic catastrophes, the world desperately needs solutions that have not been invented yet. For those with a sense of opportunity, this is a promising field.

To follow this path, it is worth remembering that good will is not enough  and campaigns that e with no consistency or strategies that do not consider stakeholders engagement are not enough either.

Problems like the ones above are more than difficult. They are the kind that John Camillus, professor of strategic management, classifies as "wicked problems" (nasty problems): questions with "multiple causes, difficult to describe and without a right answer". In other words, they are not resolved with the use of traditional tools.

In short, the challenge is great, and time is short, but the opportunities correspond to the difficulty of the scenario. As always, those who come first will have competitive advantages and can set trends. Our future passes through a regenerative economy. What will be your role in this journey?

*Danilo Maeda is ESG Director at the FSB Group.This is a content published in Bússola (compass), a partnership between FSB Communications and Exame. The text does not necessarily reflect Exame's opinion.