Climate protection mobilizes an impatient society, while investors are demanding from companies to better manage climate risks. The European Union has proclaimed a Green Deal, which places political, financial and economic responsibility on politics, the financial market and business. Companies have less and less time to strategically prepare for it.
For the first time, companies are obliged to respect human rights in the globalized economy thanks to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, their transfer into national action plans and into possible value chain laws.
The European Union has obliged capital market-oriented companies, banks and insurance companies with over 500 employees to become more transparent. In Germany, this stipulation was established via the CSR Directive Implementation Act (CSR-RUG), which came into effect in early 2017. The affected companies — around 500 in total — were thus obliged to report on ecological and social concerns for the first time. In other words, concepts, goals and results had to be outlined, risks had to be described and performance indicators listed — with the results required to undergo a review by the supervisory boards.
The UN attracted a great deal of attention when it published its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the fall of 2015. Oriented towards the year 2030, the goals address policy-makers, the business sector and society in industrialized, emerging and developing nations—and in equal measure—with the goal of achieving a sustainable future for everyone.
Great hope currently rests with the financial market since accessing outside capital is of existential importance for large portions of the world economy. If the financial market sets the right marks, its effects on boosting sustainable development will be much more powerful than those the world of politics can bring about.