Julian Taylor, Senior Partner
We are seeing the start of a global economic transformation. Even though this evolution has been decades in the making, it is now gathering momentum. After years of debate and activism, the policy and financial environment needed to support bold investment in sustainability is finally falling into place.
This has sparked a new mindset among corporate executives and investors. As our independent research reveals, sustainability is no longer seen merely as an obligation. It is now rightly recognised by the global economy’s major players as the best route to future financial performance.
But this mindset shift is just the start. The race towards sustainability's promise has already begun to ignite fierce competition among businesses. It's no longer just a race for capital; it's a battle for the brightest minds, the most eco-conscious suppliers and the most loyal customers.
While recent shockwaves to the global economy have brought about challenges, the overall direction of travel is very clear. In this new landscape, fortune will favour those who transition first and fastest.
We conducted this research to help the business and investment community understand where the opportunities lie, the barriers that stand in their way, and how they can be overcome.
It reveals, among other insights, that they must navigate a labyrinth of swiftly evolving regulations. And that uniting both businesses and investors will be essential to unlocking capital and creating opportunities that serve both profit and planet.
At Simmons & Simmons, we adopt an integrated, cross-discipline approach – combining advanced environmental, social and governance (ESG) knowledge with our deep industry and client expertise. Our expansive network can help convene the key players of this burgeoning ecosystem to create a new, more sustainable global economy.
We aspire for this report to be a catalyst for action. And we stand ready to help you grasp the opportunities that lie ahead.
The path to a transitioned world is not without challenge so it is important to acknowledge the progress made to date. Far from being the niche concept it once was, sustainability is an idea whose time has come. Regardless of where you stand on the ESG debate, its influence on markets is now clear. While the impacts of climate change unfolding around us at pace may shape behaviour, the key driver of business appetite to invest in sustainability is the growing realisation that this systemic change presents an opportunity for those willing to embrace it.
So where do we go from here? The urgency of the transition calls for bold corporate action. It requires the courage to decarbonise value chains. It calls for investment in the emerging markets to help them leapfrog the polluting pathways of the developed world. It also involves exploring sectors such as the sustainable blue economy as oceans provide co-benefits across carbon sequestration, biodiversity gains and sustainable livelihoods.
A robust policy landscape is key to this equation. Regulations can provide effective guardrails for companies looking to forge a credible path on sustainability.
Achieving these ambitions while mitigating the legal risks along the way involves attracting and retaining the right talent. To do so, the virtuous circularity of sustainability dictates that companies must walk the talk on their commitments.
We are perhaps the last generation that can pivot our companies and economies towards a more sustainable future. We have made good headway but there is more to do so let us stay the course. As Arundhati Roy wrote, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."
Partner, Global Head of ESG
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