What does a net zero culture look like? This is a fascinating, though often overlooked, question that should be of both practical and academic interest to any organization engaged in the net zero transition.
At a practical level, deep decarbonization is a human endeavor with a societal reach and therefore requires the commitment and support of multiple stakeholders. Businesses, policymakers and the general public must all be convinced, cajoled and encouraged to embrace the fastest industrial revolution in history. New skills must be developed, new products must be marketed and new behaviors must be adopted.
Much of the debate surrounding the net zero transition centers on how to deploy advanced hardware infrastructure and technologies at a pace and scale. But as the recent media backlash against the UK’s net zero policies has highlighted, these changes become much easier if the right narrative is created. It is the responsibility of political and business leaders to foster a net zero culture that welcomes and enables both the investments and the behavioral changes needed to reduce emissions. Without a culture of net zero, the transition to net zero is doomed.
But if you have to create a net zero culture to build a new zero economy, it is also true that if you build a net zero economy it will create a net zero culture. You don’t have to be a neo-Marxist to understand that the relationship between the economic and cultural spheres is entirely symbiotic.
All previous industrial revolutions have shaped culture, and the Green Industrial Revolution will be no different. It took decades to unfold, but the first industrial revolution ultimately helped give us universal suffrage, the whole concept of free time, the emergence of a middle class, and so much more. The post-war consumer revolution gave us teenagers, rock and roll, and modern consumer culture. The digital revolution has given us hyper connectivity and transparency, echo chambers and globalization, endless binge-watching and doom-scrolling on our phones. It will be fascinating to see what the net zero transition gives us. Will the four-day week, the primacy of experiments over physical products and a comprehensive reassessment of animal rights become to the Green Industrial Revolution what on weekends the Ford Model T and workers’ rights were to the premiere? industrial Revolution ?
More relevantly, how can companies catalyze such changes? How can they create a work culture that supports the net zero transition and shape the public discourse to create new green markets and behaviors?
These are just a few of the questions CompanyGreen looks forward to exploring through our upcoming Net Zero Culture Summit on December 8 and as part of the new Net Zero Culture Hub, which is launched today in association with consulting giant BCG. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at how to create a net zero work culture – starting with today’s survey by Isabella Kaminski – how to instill a net zero culture among clients and partners, and how the top Cultural industries such as fashion, hospitality, advertising and broadcasting are striving to accelerate the net zero transition.
What does a net zero culture look like? No one is quite sure yet, but you’ll know it when you see it.
Want to learn more about how to instill a net zero culture? Register now for a free pass to the Net Zero Festival, which will take place from September 29.