In 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson in the USA created Earth Day to force sustainability issues onto the national agenda. Europe followed this movement with environmental laws, and The Earth Day Network went global in 1990. This network now has over 50,000 partners in 193 countries, and over one billion people participate in its activities each year and is the world’s largest environmental movement. 
The increasingly observable impacts of global warming and climate change are set to intensify over the coming years and even decades if businesses do not take action. Climate change has compounding impacts, amplifying other factors such as defaunation, higher average temperature and flooding in some areas.
There is a growing interest in investing in sustainable and ethical companies. More brands seek B Corp certification to promote social and environmental change through positive business practices. Companies with climate change strategies focusing on sustainability are likely to meet consumer demands, attract talented individuals and can create new business opportunities.
Therefore Earth Day might give a chance to all businesses to review their existing CSR and ESG policies or even the lack of it.
Each year, more and more businesses are beginning to reflect on ESG metrics, and more of them are publishing CSR reports highlighting their emissions and operations. This can be because corporations began to realise that lack of attention to CSR, sustainability and environmental protection eventually lead to reputational risk and being proactive rather than reactive could protect brand reputation. Corporations have to go all-in with ESG if they want to survive long-term. Customers, talents and investors all have high expectations when it comes to sustainability, and they now have different tools to evaluate which businesses are meeting their expectations. Greed is no longer suitable; investors prefer sustainable brands. A younger generation of investors overwhelmingly believes their investment decision can make an impact.
Good governance can contribute to sustainability, less waste, and promote cleaner energy. Improved governance, better management and less corruption within businesses will help towards economic development and potentially lead to the usage of less-polluting energy sources. Governance professionals have a key role in influencing the board and the executives of their businesses to set clear, bold goals for delivering on the ESG agenda and create a mission statement for ESG that articulates business commitments.
Boglarka is a member of The Chartered Governance Institute and completed master’s degrees in Environmental Engineering and Corporate Governance.