How COVID-19 Shifted Thinking About Sustainability

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“When it comes to the most discussed, debated, and dissected existential risks of our time, climate change reigns supreme,” says Mathias Lelièvre, the CEO of ENGIE Impact, who is currently advising 25% of the Fortune 500 on how to implement and achieve major sustainability goals.

“Then came the coronavirus pandemic…”

Overnight, almost everything the management world was trying to achieve was overwhelmed by its sudden responsibility to change operations to halt the spread of the virus. Businesses went entirely remote or introduced strict precautions to remain open. Perhaps counter-intuitively, this has helped make setting – and adhering to – future sustainability goals a priority.

Suddenly, everyone in the world is aware of how the world can change overnight, and climate disaster seems both real – and an emergency that could be avoided. According to Vaughan Lindsay, CEO of ClimateCare, COVID-19's impact means “companies that have previously engaged with environmental, social and governance (ESG) mainly due to corporate social responsibility (CSR) are now beginning to see it as a ‘business critical issue.’”