It’s down to business at COP21 in Paris

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As global citizens, we’ve been conditioned to think that the world’s problems exist in separate boxes. We have the climate change box, the poverty box, the trade regulations box, the slavery box, the migration box, and so on. The result? We feel alienated and powerless. The real truth is, they’re all linked by the brands and businesses we interact with every day. And the strategies and practices those businesses adopt on a global scale. The inaugural GCC Global Leaders of Change Awards will recognise ethical and sustainability evangelists in business.

The inaugural GCC Global Leaders of Change Awards will be launched and celebrated at a private dinner, hosted by Eco-Age, during this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris. The Awards celebrate inspirational leadership and setting corporate standards for ethical and sustainable values, which the world has to follow.

You may ask why the global climate change gathering is a fitting place for the debut of a business leadership award. The answer is a simple and crucial one. Climate change affects us all, because it affects everything around us. Natural disasters, compromises in national security, poverty, disease and starvation. All of them swim in the rising flood that is climate change. All of them threaten the very foundations of our civilisation. And business has a key role to play in addressing the problem.

The answers stare us in the face. As HRH The Prince of Wales said in his opening speech at COP21 on Monday, “Fast innovation and investment can drive low carbon energy technologies and we are learning how to develop circular economies, in which everything

we previously regarded as waste becomes the feedstock for future growth.”

New technologies, new circular economies, new business models. The truth is that governments cannot – and cannot be expected to – solve the problems that face the future of our civilisation alone. It’s the duty of business to get involved. And it’s also in the interests of business to get involved. Business has recognised and embraced this fact and it’s to celebrate the achievements of key players in sustainable business that we have initiated the GCC Global Leaders of Change Awards.

There is no doubt that long term success in business means embracing a sustainable business model. Already, 450 major companies have fixed an internal price on carbon, while the financial community divests itself of carbon reliant investments. Putting sustainability at the heart of business makes business stronger and more resilient. It also resonates with increasingly aware and engaged consumers, who increasingly care where its basic energy, food and clothes come from.

Today, the definition of true luxury must be to know the stories behind the product we buy. And to know that the things we wear, and eat, and live with, all have beautiful stories to tell. For businesses and for their brands, it makes commercial and business sense to work in a sustainable and ethical way. It’s clear there is only one way forward – take care of the environment and the people we work with and we depend on. This means addressing the critical issues of climate change, resource scarcity and dramatic inequality in social justice.

At Eco-Age, we have a simple message. Supply chains matter more than ever before. Consumers will actively buy from companies that don’t deal in environmental catastrophe and human misery. The Millennial generation increasingly takes it for granted that sustainability in business means stability in society.

With these sobering facts in mind, the launch of the GCC Global Leader of Change Awards will recognise inspirational leadership that sets corporate standards for ethical and sustainable values, which the business world has to follow.

Thanks to Andrew Morgan and  The True Cost movie, available to watch on Netflix UK now