Prince Charles launches ‘Terra Carta’ and puts corporate sustainability under the spotlight

By Jane O’Mahoney

The Prince of Wales has sent a call to action to the corporate sector, to put sustainability at the top of the agenda and join his new charter, Terra Carta, to drastically improve the carbon footprint of businesses by 2030.

It is a ten-point action plan for businesses as part of a recovery plan designed to put nature, people and the planet at the heart of global value creation.

Prince Charles warned of a “last chance decade in which we must deliver on climate and biodiversity.”

We have, with COVID-19, undoubtedly arrived at one of the lowest moments in modern civilisation and if it hasn’t lit a fire in the belly for change, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Businesses that have provided income and lifestyles for so many, have also contributed to the suffocation of the planet. It is clear that we must do more.

Many companies have looked to offer environmental options, such as electrical vehicles and single-use plastic but this is just the starting point. What is needed is a sustainability strategy, an overarching roadmap that makes sustainability central to a company’s culture and operations.

The 2050 government deadline for achieving carbon neutral and increasing consumer demands for transparency and ethical products, means companies will be forced to take action.

This is the time to be courageous and tenacious and propel your business ahead of the competition. When all organisations are to be compelled to act, it simply makes no sense not to lead the market and be the best.

COVID-19 has, without a doubt, impacted the way we all view the world. People far and wide have had their freedoms taken away and experienced an intensified appreciation for the world around them and the fragility of it. Protecting the natural world, especially as we have witnessed it ‘recover’ due to worldwide lockdowns, will be ever higher on the agenda for consumers.

Similarly, employers who attract the top talent will be the ones who put sustainability and ethics at the heart of their business. Go to your company website and look at it as though you are a prospective employee. Does it concentrate on products and services or does it highlight your ethics and commitment to sustainability? If it’s the latter, great! If not, you have taken the first step to realising that you need to implement a sustainability strategy.

Ultimately, change will happen but it won’t be easy. Businesses must seek expert help to develop a sustainability strategy, failure to do so will be damaging. Throughout it all, communication will be key. Engaging with employees, stakeholders and customers will be crucial. Share your targets and share your successes, we are all here watching, waiting and ready to cheer on those companies that fully commit to a sustainable future.