The pandemic gives businesses the opportunity to rebuild in a more environmentally sustainable way, via “The Great Reset”.
This was emphasized by Microsoft Corporation’s Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa at the 12th Leadership Innovation Forum (Lead-In) of Globe Business where he urged companies to rethink their priorities to create a more sustainable future as economies recover.
The “Great Reset” focuses on environmental,social, and governance (ESG) practices, he explained. ESG urges companies to go beyond the pure pursuit of profit to benefit the broader socio-economic systems.
“If we don’t begin to stabilize our overall climate systems, if we don’t begin to build a more environmentally sustainable future, if we don’t begin to close that economic disparity gap between different people at different places on the planet, then the world isn’t going to do well,” Joppa stressed.
“And if the world doesn’t do well, our corporations won’t do well. And that is why everyone is talking about ESG as the core part of this great economic reset.”
Companies need to think about minimizing their environmental and social footprint and the negative social impact of their business operations.
At the same time, they should maximize the positive environmental and social impacts of their products, policies and partnerships.
Such equation for optimization should sit at the core of every corporation’s governance, planning, and strategic visioning cycles.
“Make sure both your existing products and services solve environmental challenges and social challenges and that you’re innovating new solutions so that you can be a trusted partner for customers who are also undergoing their own sustainability,” he maintained.
For this reason, enterprises should have core corporate commitments from an ESG perspective for the short, medium, and long term, similar to financial targets.
These ESG targets have to be set and achieved as well.
At present, the most pressing environmental problem is caused by emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, resulting in rapidly changing climates.
Such environmental degradation is mainly a result of economic growth, which is necessary for improving the human experience.
To address the situation and achieve a net-zero carbon emission, Microsoft committed to a simple but ambitious target of becoming a carbon negative company, a water positive company, and a zero-waste company by 2030.
“The plan is to reduce our emissions by half or more and physically remove the rest by 2030,” according to Joppa.
“Then, we move forward every year, not just to zero out our annual emissions, but also to go back in time and remove all the emissions that we’re associated with since we were founded in 1975.”
Large companies such as Microsoft have committed to 100 percent carbon neutral supply chains and products by 2030, while others have committed to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
Aside from Joppa, other speakers during the Lead-In forum were Globe Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications Yoly Crisanto, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. President and CEO Cesar Romero, and Managing Director, Member of the Management Committee of Ayala Corporation and Chief Operating Officer of iPeople, Inc. Alfredo Ayala.
Globe strongly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly UN SDG No. 9, highlighting the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development, and UN SDG No. 13, which underscores the importance of climate action to save lives and livelihoods to address climate emergencies. It is committed to upholding the UN Global Compact principles and contributing to 10 UN SDGs.