Game on: The 1.5°C business playbook

How companies and organisations can build a strategy for exponential climate action

The 1.5°C Business Playbook is a spin-off from the world-leading Exponential Roadmap initiative. It guides companies and organisations of all sizes to exponential climate strategy and action, and helps them align with the 1.5°C ambition.

It is a concrete tool to facilitate halving of emissions at least every 10 years, and shift business focus to zero-carbon solutions. It is grounded in the latest science. And it focuses on simplicity and speed, and aims at transforming the economy.

This playbook is to prepare businesses for the fastest economic transition in history and help them drive it.

Download the playbook (PDF)

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Sustaining sustainability: How small actions make a big difference

Why sustainability needs to be strategic to a firm’s business – and how it can be orchestrated. 

In recent years, sustainability has become a popular buzzword — but it still doesn’t always have a seat at the strategy table. Until that happens, benefits will not accrue to either firms or to society, says C. B. Bhattacharya, a professor of sustainability and ethics at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, and author of a new book, ‘Small Actions, Big Difference’.

Podcast: B. Bhattacharya discusses his book ‘Small Actions, Big Difference’ and why companies need to think strategically about CSR.


For modern and efficient businesses having a successful company and a healthy environment are not mutually exclusive concepts. In a truly sustainable world, you must have both. If you’re struggling to find balance and get started, this e-book might be useful for you.

The e-book is written by Jon Dee, who is founder and managing Director of Do Something! and NSW Australian of the Year 2010, as well as Planet Ark co-founder and an all-round change agent. The e-book was created to help Australian businesses, especially small and medium businesses, increase their efficiency and productivity.

→ Download the free e-book here:
Jon Dee: ‘Sustainable Growth – Small business, big opportunity’ (PDF)

“How can your business make an impact on the economy, society and your environment? What does sustainability mean? And, more importantly, what does it mean for small businesses? This timely and relevant book provides the answers.”
~ Suzi Dafnis, Community Director, Australian Businesswomen’s Network

Sustainable business guide from 1992 – updated

Created to help a business create strategies for sustainable development, this free access guide defines the concept of sustainability, while providing solutions for leaders to start the transition to more sustainable practices. It is based on the book ‘Business Strategy for Sustainable Development: Leadership and Accountability’, published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development in conjunction with Deloitte & Touche and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in 1992 – 30 years ago.

→ Download the guide here:

2020 National Sustainability Conference on 27-28 April

Online Sustainability Conference in Australia next week


BCSD Australia has set out to create a “business case for sustainability” through the development of tools, research and business models. With scalable, science-based solutions the organisation aims to deliver measurable impact and enable their members.

The Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia – BCSD Australia – is the national peak body representing forward-thinking companies and organisations that are working towards the transition to a sustainable Australia.

Previously known as Sustainable Business Australia, their members come from all sectors and industries, representing more than 150,000 employees across Australia.

“Our members believe that by integrating social and environmental impacts with financial results, business lowers its risk profile, makes better decisions and creates the solutions needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals,” they write on their home page. 

While the concept of sustainable development has received growing recognition, for a lot of business executives, the concept remains abstract. Knowing why and how to invest in sustainable business practices can be difficult – especially when there are both short and long term implications to consider.

The council’s mission is to accelerate this transition by making sustainable business more successful, and to explore the transformations taking place by businesses around the world vested in advancing people, performance and the planet.

BCSD Australia are the Australian partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

How are businesses addressing sustainability, happiness and COVID-19?

“This session brings together renowned academics, economic experts, and business leaders of global corporations to discuss the bridge between business and sustainability. The discussion will tackle the role of businesses in shaping a sustainable economy, and the responsibility they have towards their consumers. The experts will also provide their perspectives on the evolving COVID-19 and its implication on businesses. Additionally, they will examine recommendations on business readiness, efficacy, and sustainability to pave the way forward.”


• Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University and Co-Editor of the World Happiness Report

• Davide Bollati, President and Owner of Davines International

• Paul Polman, Chair of the International Chambers of Commerce and the UN Global Compact, co-founder of IMAGINE

• Eric Ezechieli, Cofounder and Regeneration officer of Nativa

• Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Director, Wellbeing Research Centre, University of Oxford, and Co-Editor of the World Happiness Report

→ More here:

Call to start a wave among businesses

The world is already full of ‘sustainability councils’ and ‘climate roundtables’ and many other well-meaning climate-action bodies and initiatives, focusing on what needs to happen in the business sector in order to save us from a climate catastrophe.

We have seen many of them come and go, unfortunately there are a few of them that stay around. And in the meanwhile, emissions have kept rising. Every year. So clearly something has not been working. Until now.

Enter Covid. The global pandemic has made it clear that something very different could happen now.

Even though we have been told about the threat of a pandemic for decades, our leaders crossed their fingers and hoped it wouldn’t happen in their election period. So what was being done to prepare us for a global pandemic was clearly not enough. The exact same can be said about how businesses and politicians have been dealing with the – potentially much more devastating – threat of a global climate and ecological breakdown.

Through the last year we have seen a wave of 1,500 councils declaring a climate emergency, and that is where new inspiration could be coming from: More bold leadership can be shown in a similar manner by individual company owners. After a while, when the number has grown from a handful to more than a thousand, these business leaders will be showing the larger and slower-working coalitions, networks, unions, international bodies and alliances that there is a substantial and determined movement for making much stronger and much bolder climatesafety investments and planet-conscious decisions.

What this does is it changes the story. If you want to stay in business, this is the new paradigm.

We can trigger that “wave”. We can show hundreds of companies standing together after having declared a climate emergency and acted upon it. It is the bottom-up approach, and it works.

We said just the same three and a half years ago about councils creating a wave, after Darebin City Council had surprised everyone by jumping onto the idea. And look what has happened since: it became reality.

The wild and silly-looking idea that a council can change the world by declaring a climate emergency does no longer look quite as silly. From one council in Melbourne, Australia, to now 1,500 local, state and national governments around the world… The action is inspiring everyone.

It is time to ask the business community if they could see a similar idea would work here? More than 30 British companies have picked it up. A few Australian companies as well. Will you help us make more follow?

31 UK businesses have declared – and the figure keeps rising

Further reading: resources, ideas, strategies

→ B Lab slide presentation: How to declare a Climate Emergency

→ B The Change – 11 March 2020:
Something’s Gotta Change
“Why It’s Time for Businesses, Nonprofits and other Organizations to Make Sustainable Choices”. By Kim Fuller

“Here are three ways businesses can unlock the economic benefits of low-carbon growth:

  1. Reform business practices
  2. Engage consumers in the solution
  3. Work with government”

→ World Recourses Institute – 21 May 2019:
3 Ways Businesses Can Lead the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy
“More businesses are recognizing the reality of our changing climate. As of May, 553 companies collectively representing more than a $10 trillion market cap have committed to adopting emissions-reduction targets. These actions aren’t just good for the climate. Research shows they can be good for companies’ bottom lines.”

→ IISD – 28 March 2019:
Governments and Corporates: Driving Each Other Forward on Ambitious Climate Action
“Companies have kick-started a process to set science-based targets aligned with the goals of Paris – now it’s time for governments to follow suit by upgrading their national climate plans.”

→ Saur Energy – 5 June 2019:
Seventy Majors From India’s Top 100 Corporates Shifting to Renewable Energy: WWF Report
“Giving a boost to the renewable energy sector in India, the latest WWF India report says that 70% of top Indian corporates have shown increased uptake of renewable energy.”

→ The Economist – 23 May 2019:
A Shakespearean guide to how firms tackle climate change
“Central bankers, shareholders, customers and employees are urging firms to take bolder action to tackle climate change. In some boardrooms, the message is sinking in; to date 210 firms collectively worth more than $6trn, ranging from carmakers (like Renault) to confectioners (such as Mars), have committed to “science-based targets” to cut their carbon footprint in line with the internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to 2ºC or less relative to pre-industrial levels.”

→ Sierra Club – 29 April 2019:
Climate Change Costs Are Starting to Bite Business
“What will it take for American businesses to get serious about fighting climate change? Maybe this: In January, facing $30 billion in liabilities for its role in recent wildfires, California’s mighty investor-owned utility Pacific Gas and Electric filed for bankruptcy protection. Overnight, the company lost half its value.” 

→ Forbes India – 25 April 2019:
Climate change: The big test for public and private regulation?
“Recent decades have seen many private regulatory initiatives emerge in areas where states appeared to be incapable of creating international regulation.”

→ Edie Newsroom – 24 April 2019:
SDGs In Action: How Tetra Pak is achieving Goal 13 – Climate Action
“Tetra Pak utilises an array of onsite renewables solutions to lower carbon impacts.”

Target pushes suppliers to go green
Target will give its suppliers until 2023 to set forth a plan to reduce carbon pollution at their facilities as well as from the energy they purchase to power their operations. The retailer pledged to get such agreements from 80 percent of companies in its supply chain.

The Minneapolis-based company said that 96 percent of greenhouse gas emissions related to its operations come from businesses that produce raw materials, manufacture products and transport them to stores.

→ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 30 March 2019:
Target pushes suppliers to go green, too
“Target Corp. has announced a sweeping set of goals to reduce its carbon footprint that for the first time puts pressure on its suppliers to do the same.”

→ The Guardian / Bank Australia:
Millennials are increasingly prioritising purpose over profits — a shift that could shape the business landscape for years to come
“The phrase ‘conscious capitalism’ has always seemed like something of an oxymoron. But as the world becomes shaped by far-right politics, an uneven distribution of wealth and power and mounting anxieties related to the environment and climate, people — especially socially conscious millennials — are joining grassroots movements and rallying around political causes in droves.”

→ The Fifth Estate – 4 June 2019:
Second property group in Australia achieves Science Based Targets
“Frasers Property Australia has joined Investa as the second in the Australian property sector to achieve an approved real estate Science Based Target.”


Building momentum towards a zero-carbon economy

The Science Based Targets initiative is committed to driving the greatest ambition on corporate climate action. In May 2019, the group released a new suite of resources for companies to set science-based targets in line with the most ambitious aim of the Paris  Agreement — limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

222 companies have their science-based targets validated. The targets initiative aims to mobilise companies to set science-based targets and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy.

It is a collaboration between CDP – a charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts – and the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments.

The We Mean Business coalition is catalyzing business action and driving policy ambition to accelerate the zero-carbon transition.

The initiative defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets.

Visit to learn more.

“As David Attenborough said in his recent TV programme, “What happens now and in these next few years will profoundly affect the next few thousand years”. We need to act now together to stop the almost irreversible damage we are doing to our planet. What this experience has highlighted is that there is too much individualism within the speciality food sector, too much re-inventing the wheel and more would be achieved more quickly by communication and collaboration.”
~ Paul Hargreaves, CEO, Cotswold Fayre

Cotswold Fayre is a fine food wholesaler supplying independent retailers with quality fine food and gourmet food products sourced from the best producers from the UK and across the globe. It is a Certified B Corporation with 32 employees.

Here is a proposal from the United Kingdom for what a ‘Climate Emergency Charter’ for busineses could look like:

→ BusinessGreen – 20 May 2019:
The XR effect: Ecotricity declares ‘climate emergency’ and sets 2025 net zero target

In what could prove to be a world first, green entrepreneur Dale Vince has today declared a ‘climate emergency’ at renewable energy specialist Ecotricity.

→ The Guardian – 22 May 2019:
Amazon workers demand Bezos act on climate crisis

“Jeff’s inaction and lack of meaningful response underscore his dismissal of the climate crisis and spoke volumes about how Amazon’s board continues to de-prioritize addressing Amazon’s role in the climate emergency.”

→ Quartz – 29 May 2019:
The best way to fight climate change is to treat it like a business

 – –

“Speed is everything,” Amazon employee Emily Cunningham said during a speech at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Seattle on Wednesday. It sounded like a company motto or one of CEO Jeff Bezos’s famous leadership principles, but the user experience designer was referring to a shareholder resolution, outlined in a letter signed by over 7,600 other employees, for the company to act on climate: Finally tally up its carbon emissions, make plans for climate-related events, and choose to make clearer, bigger commitments to stop producing planet-warming gases.

“Without bold, rapid action, we will lose our only chance to avoid catastrophic warming,” she said, her words aimed at her boss, the world’s richest man. “There is no issue more important to our customers, to our world than the climate crisis, and we are falling far short … Our home, planet Earth, not far-off places in space, desperately needs bold leadership. Jeff, all we need is your leadership.”

→ Medium – 23 May 2019:
The Dramatic Moment When an Amazon Worker Asked Jeff Bezos to Protect Planet Earth
The Amazon CEO stayed backstage as employees stood up to demand change in an unusual show of force

“We, the undersigned 7,683 Amazon employees, ask that you adopt the climate plan shareholder resolution and release a company-wide climate plan that incorporates the principles outlined in this letter.

Amazon has the resources and scale to spark the world’s imagination and redefine what is possible and necessary to address the climate crisis. We believe this is a historic opportunity for Amazon to stand with employees and signal to the world that we’re ready to be a climate leader.”

→ Medium – 11 April 2019:
Open letter to Jeff Bezos and the Amazon Board of Directors

We Mean Business


Working with the world’s most influential businesses to take bold action on climate & call for ambitious policy. How are you building a better #FutureFaster?

“We must act collectively. We need strong, determined leadership in government, in business and in our communities to ensure a sustainable future for humankind.”
~ Admiral Chris Barrie, AC RAN Retired, Chief of the Australian Defence Force from 1998 to 2002. Honorary Professor at Strategic & Defence Studies Centre of Australian National University in Canberra, and a member of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change.