Sustainability and Investments: the trajectory on the corporate side is clear

In the last episode we showed how the relationship between CO2 emissions, rising temperatures and climate change is self-evident, how the investments needed to implement the energy transition are huge and why the world is lagging behind, but also how the results can be seen and are very concrete where things have been done seriously for over 15 years (Europe).

Today we show you how companies have well understood the multi-decade business opportunities that the energy transition and the circular economy bring with them.

The first practical demonstration of this concept is evident by observing the speed with which new technologies are being developed to move towards a more sustainable world. The International Energy Agency (IEA) shows us, for example, how the progress made in 5 fields (sodium batteries, hydrogen production, CO2 capture in cement production, recovery techniques for minerals and rare metals and vacuum insulation panels) have been very important in the last 3 years with the actual production and market launch phase now close.

This means that companies are investing heavily in patents, in R&D, in developments and prototypes, in innovation. All this is extremely important given that we were coming from a very long period of maintaining the status quo which lasted until the mid-2000s with few changes in energy production, electricity networks, building construction techniques, product obsolescence, recovery of post-use materials .

But there is also a second element that leads to understanding how the trend of managing one’s business with a greater focus on the concept of ESG (respect for the Environment, attention to the Social / People and Community and ethics in Governance / in taking into account the interests of all Stakeholders) is significantly increasing.

Benefit Corporations or B-Corps are today the most evolved concept of a company that has decided to operate in compliance with the above principles; to become a B-Corp you must undertake a journey that lasts years, which requires investments, which leads the company to receive a score given by an external body which will say whether the company in question is “worthy” of boasting this title.

Well, as you can see from the ZCA graph, the number of B Corps in the world is growing rapidly (the most recent data available from March 2024 is 8250 companies, in 85 countries, belonging to over 150 industrial sectors) with in addition an important tail on the side of candidates who are waiting to become one (including the Sella Group for which I work).

The third element that pushes companies in this direction is undoubtedly the regulation which, especially in Europe but not only, “forces” them to become more sustainable. Sometimes we believe that there may be an excess of rules, that some decisions are unfair or come too early, but I believe it is necessary for each of us to understand that the change underway, as well as being absolutely necessary, has a cost.

Cost that will be shared / will fall on all of us consumers, on companies, on states / unions of states such as the EU.

The set of 3 factors outlined today offer a clear picture, I hope, of how the trajectory is (fortunately) marked on the business side and there are no logical reasons (including new incoming American Presidents) to interrupt or reverse the current path. Indeed, we believe that the arrival of other nations to support this process (only a question of time, marked not by politicians but by climate evolution in my personal opinion) will strengthen everything.