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BCG Executive Perspectives

BCG Executive Perspectives offer insights on global topics that matter most to leaders in the public and private sectors. Our latest edition explores the roles that each of us must play to mitigate the effects of climate change and become more sustainable, with concrete steps for CEOs on what it takes to reach net zero.

Edition 23: The Time for Climate Action Is Now

Addressing climate change is of strategic importance across the public and private sectors—and should be near the top of every leader’s agenda. The consequences of inaction are just too high. A fundamental shift to prioritize sustainability measures is needed to ensure the longer-term viability of the planet. But for meaningful change to occur, businesses and governments will have to act quickly and boldly, heeding the call of citizens, consumers, and investors to pave the way toward a more sustainable future.

The progress underway—while hopeful—simply isn’t enough. An investment between $100 trillion and $150 trillion will be needed over the next 30 years to reach net-zero emissions globally, as the pandemic’s recent positive effects on climate change (the result of declines in human and industrial activity) are only temporary. And complicating matters further is the fact that demand will soon outpace supply for a number of sustainable resources, including carbon offsets, green hydrogen, and recycled plastics. Collectively, these factors suggest that there’s no time to waste.

To help leaders get started on the journey, or to help them advance along the way, we’re sharing our latest perspectives on what it will take to ramp up sustainability efforts both immediately and in the longer term. Specifically, we’ve analyzed the financial and technological elements of an effective climate change strategy and offer seven steps—related to operations, policy, and investment strategy—CEOs can take to reach net zero.

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