News & Insights > Insights > New leadership for the climate 

  •  By Charlotte Weill

We are witnessing a change in the global landscape, are we ready to rewrite the script?

Extreme weather events are on the increase, and ecosystems are in danger. Recent events remind us that the climate crisis is not a Hollywood film, but a reality that affects us all.
The planetary limits, those invisible boundaries that we have blithely crossed for at least 6 out of the 9, are indicative of our relentless desire to overtake nature (an unfortunate term, given that the lead shortage is expected by 2030). "Man is not an empire within an empire" said Spinoza... Nature has its laws, and we are playing a dangerous game by breaking them. Are we capable of creating a new history, a history of respect and coexistence?

Depletion of fossil fuels, minerals, water resources... a tragi-comedy in three acts. We humans are better at wasting than preserving copper, cobalt, zinc, nickel and lithium, which are essential for low-carbon technologies and our telephone batteries. Poor Mendeleïev!
Man's responsibility is now scientifically proven: we are the scriptwriters of this climate drama. Are we also going to be the heroes who reverse the course of history?

Businesses play a central role in this new narrative. Between citizens who are doing the best they can on an individual scale and governments that are doing very little (and doing it slowly), businesses are the only ones able to combine collective strength and speed of action. Because the only way to deal with this situation is to act.
We entrepreneurs need to come up with new forms of leadership to meet the challenges ahead. 
First and foremost, leadership that reconciles financial and non-financial performance. Companies must integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives into their business model, recognising that long-term sustainability is essential for financial stability. Economic value creation must coexist with making a positive contribution to stakeholders and society. That sounds easier said than done. We all want to be responsible to the planet, as long as it doesn't interfere with our 'business as usual'.
Leadership that is rooted in its territory, that does not get lost in a hyper-connected globalisation that is sometimes so disconnected from everything. Companies must commit themselves locally and contribute to the well-being of the regions in which they operate. Here again, easier said than done... If we can avoid local taxes and find low-cost production in other countries, will the regeneration of the regions weigh in our equation?
Finally, authentic leadership that questions itself and shares its doubts. Questioning and transparency are key to making progress and adapting to the changing challenges of the climate. Here again, it won't be easy - why bother with authenticity when you can hire a PR team to gild or green the picture? Yet all heroes have their share of fragility, and it's this humanity that makes our quest credible and inspiring!
Let's face it, as long as financial interests prevail to such an extent over the preservation of the planet, the 'new leadership' to 'save' the climate will be nothing more than an empty play on words.
Environmental history is being made, and we all have a role to play. It's high time we woke up and took concrete steps to preserve life on our planet. Because if we continue to play this ecological comedy, the final punchline may not be as funny as we think.

Translated with (free version)

The business expert :

Charlotte Weill


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