It’s time for business to move beyond simply managing risks to addressing opportunity as the world reels under a growing climate crisis, a global pandemic, threats to democracy, and increasing income inequality. But how can companies move into this opportunity responsibly in support of both business value and transformative impact? Business leaders will need to develop a keen understanding of how these interrelated forces, especially the climate crisis, affect the lives of workers, customers, and society at large. Only then will companies be able to respond with the innovation and value creation that can, without hyperbole, change the future of the world.

Since its first publication in 2015, the Fortune Change the World list has honored dozens of companies that are tackling the threats to our planet through innovation, new business models, and unexpected partnerships. When we look at this year’s list, we are heartened by the continued contributions companies across the globe are making to address climate change.

Yet corporate leaders need to do more. Much more.

Look through corporate sustainability reports and under “Climate Change” the headline is at best about a company’s science-based targets and what they’re doing to reduce scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions—important efforts, to be sure, but highly technical and often not inclusive of the populations and communities most affected by the impacts of climate change. At the same time, the purpose statements for these same companies generally focus in some way on making life better for people. This missed connection between the technical and the human can be striking; to make meaningful positive change on climate, business leaders need to understand that intersection. By doing so, companies can unlock opportunities to create value and improve human lives around the world. We offer a few thoughts for leaders on how to get started:

  • Redefine your business purpose
  • Connect with stakeholders
  • Pursue the co-benefits of addressing both social and environmental goals together
  • Align networks and the ecosystem

Read the full article about addressing climate change by Chirlie Felix, Laura Tilghman, and Rishi Agarwal
at FSG.