Finance Monthly - August 2023

Business aspirations with credible plans or measurable metrics. Business leaders must navigate sustainability commitments carefully. There are growing risks to firms’ finances and reputations if a net zero strategy isn’t clearly actionable. Regulators are clamping down on sustainability claims, consumers are increasingly sceptical of “eco-friendly” labels, and activists are successfully using corporate greenwashing as grounds for legal action. As the focus on sustainability broadens from climate to nature, other aspiring terms such as “nature positive” are emerging in the corporate vocabulary. These agendas are illdefined and have the potential to open companies up to further criticism and possible regulatory action. With no standard baseline from which to measure, nor agreed metrics to assess, defining what can be consider to be “nature positive” has yet to be resolved. Consumers and activists, already wary of climate claims and willing to take action against them, will view such nature-associated labels with scepticism. Companies should instead adopt a cautious approach to the use of such terms until they are better defined and understood. Almost half of the world’s largest companies in the Forbes Global 2000 have a net zero target, a number that has doubled in just two years. Finance Monthly. 49

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