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In the coming ‘net zero era,’ businesses must complete their digital transformation, recognize consumers’ new power, and act with purpose. We explain how.

The world can no longer rely on once-familiar certainties such as a stable climate and a pre-pandemic reality. Amid widespread dysfunction—from unprecedented weather events and snarled supply chains, to rampant labor shortages and new health protocols—it’s easy to sense the old world fading away, never to return.

Less obvious, but also as certain, is the dawning of a new era. It will be defined by a volatile planet whose citizens, businesses and governments discover new ways of functioning productively, safely, sustainably and meaningfully in a world beset by environmental disruption and global illness.

Equally and just as importantly, however, it will also be infused with huge technological progress and innovation and hope.

Call it the “net zero era”—not because carbon reduction is the only need of the day but because the term encapsulates the many challenges the world faces, the most threatening of which is sustaining a planet healthy enough for humans to keep calling home. For business leaders everywhere, it will be essential to recognize the glimmers of this new era and grasp what's important and what's possible.

What you, as steward of your enterprise, do next is critical. How the future ultimately unfolds is up to the collective “us” and how we respond to the dizzying pace of social, environmental and technological change and stakeholder demands. This is what will define society, commerce and organizations for decades to come.

That’s why we’ve developed a field guide to what the net zero era entails, one we hope will help business leaders see ahead, get ahead and stay ahead of the drivers shaping the future.

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