Matt Lancashire is Director of Zero Matters

AT the end of another COP – the 27th, in Egypt – we are once again left reflecting on what happens now. Specifically, we are left reflecting on how to turn words, of which there have been a lot, into accelerated action.

We should not fall into the trap of seeing COP27, its predecessors or its successors, as a waste of time. It is not – it is a critical meeting which sets out the broad rules of the game as we seek to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

Sitting, last week, in 15 degree heat, in the middle of November, in Scotland is not a luxury; it is a warning. Just like the 40 degree heat in July was a warning. We cannot talk about the warnings any longer; we must act on them.

But what COP does not itself do is act to limit climate change. The national governments which attend COP can nudge and incentivise, but they cannot themselves limit climate change either. That is up to us. All of us – employers, families and individuals.

Zero Matters is part of a new environmental movement focused on action, not on words. We are focused on creating solutions for organisations from charities to businesses, ensuring that they move to net zero as quickly, sustainably, and profitably as possible.

Yes, profitably. Capitalism has caused climate change, but it is our entrepreneurs and companies, encouraged to invest in innovation and research and development, who will fix it. Asking organisations to move to net zero by torpedoing their profitability is not only counter-productive, but also unworkable.

There will always be people who want to stop the world so we can all get off. People who embrace the cliff edge. No more meat. No more flying. No more roads. But the new environmental movement is about changing the world so that we can all stay on. Don’t stop eating meat, but do help farmers take steps to become more sustainable. Don’t stop going on holiday, but do work with the aviation industry to continue the relentless greening of aeroplanes. Don’t stop building roads, but do it where they are the only option, make them electric-friendly and tax their use.

Not everybody approves of this new environmentalism. The more traditional environmental movement thinks that the solution is to move towards a more closed economy and a less global world.

We don’t. New environmentalism is about action. It is about showing organisations of all shapes and sizes that the viability of their organisation is directly related by their willingness to go net zero. In another 10 years, businesses that are not net zero, or heading there, will find themselves unable to win contracts, unable to be part of corporate supply chains, and unable to attract staff.

If that is what motivates them to go net zero, that is fine by me, and it should be fine by all of us. Climate action comes in many forms. The important thing is that it is action, not words.