Manifesto on Courage

“Our world does not need tepid souls. It needs burning hearts, men who know the proper place of moderation.”

Albert Camus

68% increase in global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels between 1990 and 2019
1.5°C rise in global temperatures between the end of the 19th century and the 2010s’
416 billion dollars invested in the exploration and production of fossil energies in 2021

68% of wild populations of vertebrate animals lost between 1970 and 2016 (2)

The earth has nine planetary boundaries that determine the threshold beyond which human impact on Earth’s systems will put society at risk. In 2021, we had already crossed four of these boundaries. In early 2022, news arrived that we had crossed a fifth. We are hurtling towards disaster and, with each day that passes, losing precious time to turn things around. World leaders gather at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP) each year to engage in debates and discussions with the intention of putting humanity on a sustainable trajectory, but few — if any — solutions materialize. All the while, the hands of the clock continue to tick away. Temperatures continue to rise. Anxiety mounts.

Companies already feel the impact and consequences of the environmental crisis: factories destroyed by floods; agricultural production disrupted by drought, extreme temperatures and soil degradation; dwindling resources.

The clock is ticking. We’re past the point of pledges. It’s time for action and results.

We met and spoke with over 30 leaders who are fighting to move beyond mere rhetoric and engage in meaningful actions to redefine how business is done.
Whether their engagement and commitment spans decades or is a more recent venture, these leaders are…

• the economic backbone of the climate transition, captains of industry pushing for change in their sectors,
• the next generation of corporate activists, inspiring public and private actors,
• thought leaders, shedding light on the complexities of the issues and challenges we face

What do they have in common? The essential spark needed for any change: courage.
In our conversations with leaders, courage was a theme that appeared again and again. We’ve tried to put into words here how these pragmatic idealists envision the concept of courage. Several aspects of courage emerged from our conversations:

This manifesto aims to share that spark within each of these leaders, to help shake off complacency, to inspire movement and dispel taboos. We hope the wisdom of these leaders we have interviewed will inspire others to have the same force of spirit, the courage that’s imperative to action.

This manifesto aims to be a catalyst for action. By sharing the wisdom of these leaders, we hope to inspire others to shake off complacency and take up the banner of action, kickstart a movement and break taboos.

It will be followed in the coming months by a series of deep dives into the major challenges leaders face in driving transformational change and the key levers to overcome them.

(1) Key climate figures – France, Europe et Monde – 2022 – © SDES / réalisation Datagora
(2) World Wildlife Foundation, report Living Planet, 2020

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