Am I the only one sensing something is happening at a global scale? First, there are citizens speaking up on a massive scale for real social and environmental actions (500,000 protesters in Montreal!). Then, you’ve got purpose-driven businesses and innovation start-ups that sprout like it’s spring again. And finally there is the finance sector waking up from its lethargic state just when the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis reports that the biggest asset manager in the world (BlackRock) has lost US$ 90 billions over 10 years because of fossil fuel investments.
Thinking of all these reactions coming from every level of society, one might ask oneself : ok, so what’s the next step here? Now that everybody knows things must change (except climate skeptics, of course), where do we start?
As obvious as it may sound, we must begin with the basics : identify where all these negative impacts come from. Ok, and then what? Then, we demand transparency!
Bear with me.
Now that investors and CEOs are starting to understand it is crucial to take businesses’ social and environmental impacts into consideration to ensure long-term profitability, they will demand businesses with financial and extra-financial “balance sheets”. What’s that? Think global impact assessment that reports both positive and negative, AND both environmental and social impacts of a business as a whole.
Plus, the best way to avoid greenwashing and impact washing is to use a standardised analysis methodology to produce extra-financial assessments that are com-pa-rable, just like financial balance sheets. Full transparency regarding a business’ activities and outcomes allow us to identify the sources of negative impacts and quantify them. This will consequently give a business the opportunity to reduce its negative impacts and improve its positive impacts, and even create ones because this is precisely what investors will look at when evaluating potential investment. Capiche? This sounds like a dream ☁️ of our CEO Paul Allard but it’s actually what’s happening on the global stage.
And on the other side of the business plan, we find citizens demanding change on a planetary scale.
There were 500,000 protestors in the streets of Montreal and about a million in the rest of Canada. According to a CROP survey, 77% of Canadians admit we are destroying our planet and about 35% state they ‘take concrete actions in their everyday life to reduce their impact on environment’. Add to this the 55% that somewhat agree with this statement and that is a lot of people that want things to change! Ok, but what about transparency then?
Every day more people choose to buy from businesses offering ethical products or having ethical practices. The demand is ever growing and shelves are now full of ethical products alongside products displaying false ecological facts for marketing purposes. Businesses can get away with poor transparency which can make it hard for eco-friendly consumers to be confident in their choices. This profitable loophole for businesses will soon be over. Once they feel pressured by both sides—that is investors and clients—to demonstrate the true social and environmental impact of their products and/or services, the offer on the market will experience an unprecedented change at scale.
In a nutshell 🥜
For transparency to rule at every level, which seems to be the direction the world is taking, a standardised global impact assessment is needed. Once the assessment is made public, investors, just like consumers, will choose to do business with the most positively impactful companies, and they will motivate other businesses to better themselves. And that’s when this large scale change we all want and need will truly happen.
So let’s all demand transparency!