Build a Net-Zero Business or be Net-Business: Zero

Gavin Starks
2 min readJun 29, 2021

Three reasons why you can’t ignore it anymore.

You can no longer build ‘ESG’ or ‘Climate’ as a category: it’s either a business target or your business will be a target.

A further 100+ conversations leads me to think that most businesses and investors are still being led by ‘business as usual’ thinking with ‘a bit of Net Zero’ on the side, rather than any form of systemic change.

As I’ve mentioned, physics doesn’t care about your politics (or profits). We all know that ‘short-termism’ is a root cause of inaction, but I believe that the tide has already turned, in three ways:

  1. Investors will want to prove that returns on their investment are Net-Zero (e.g. asset managers, pensions, bonds and financial instruments) and so businesses will have to bring auditable facts to the table about their operations, risks and activities.
  2. Consumers will start to holding investors to account and will ask for evidence as a market differentiator.
  3. Regulators will start to force this to happen

Combined, these represent a compelling ‘tipping point’ that we are at the beginning of—and it won’t be slowing down.

Providing the evidence that will inform proof, that will give confidence to consumers, and will enable regulators to act will require data. These data will be used (at various levels of granularity) by many thousands of companies to inform their investments, by hundreds of reporting standards, by dozens of regulators and, ultimately, by millions of people.

Making data sharing easy is, therefore, both an imperative and a collective-benefit challenge.

Working out how we bridge the data gaps, unlock the dataflows, and enable data-driven materiality will be essential to the delivery of a Net-Zero Future.