• Gary Reader, Leadership |

Who can deny that our planet today stands at a historic crossroad amid the profound and alarming impact of climate change and its looming threat to our future? Clear evidence of the global crisis continues to emerge with growing ferocity by the day – and with it, critical challenges for global businesses, governments and society at large to enact bold new solutions without delay.

Many of today’s businesses are recognizing both the pressing need for dramatic change and the pivotal role they can play to drive real progress. KPMG’s insightful 2021 CEO Outlook survey reveals three quarters of today’s CEOs believe their organizations possess the financial resources and skills needed to assist governments in delivering environmental solutions

For many years, entrepreneurs, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and others have devised different innovations to protect the environment and address climate change. Their motive is obviously to stop or reverse environmental degradation and protect our earth. However, according to a new study by Cambridge University researchers, commissioned by KPMG International, green innovation can not only help save the environment, but also have a greater impact on economic growth than non-green innovation.

Drawing on patent data from the last three decades for 43 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), this comprehensive study by researchers at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge concludes that green patent filings, if sustained, to a significant increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Specifically, doubling green-patent applications every year leads to a 4.8-percentage-point increase in real economic growth, compared to a 3.4-percentage-point increase by doubling non-green patents.

The study spotlights how green investments can help improve the environment while driving economic growth at the same time. The opportunities from investing in green innovation and sustainable businesses are being noticed by businesses across the market, particularly major corporations. According to the 2021 CEO Outlook, more than half of CEOs of the world’s largest organizations say they plan to invest at least 10 percent of revenues into sustainability initiatives.

The researchers also called out some of the vital success stories we are witnessing as future-focused nations and businesses wisely choose green-innovation initiatives over economic decline, and they highlight the instructive role that governments need to play in driving progress for our planet's environmental and economic future.

With the clock ticking on the well-being of the planet and humanity, there’s no time to lose for businesses, governments and society to pursue unprecedented levels of collaboration, solidarity, innovation and action to complete the historic journey ahead. We can enhance sustainability while maintaining global prospects for economic growth and prosperity — which I view as a winning combination for today’s troubled world.