McKinsey: What will be the biggest imperatives for leaders coming out of COP27?
Anna Granskog: I see one imperative in particular for leaders at COP27, and that’s to stop treating sustainability, resilience, economic growth and the well-being of the population as a trade-off—rather than two objectives moving towards the same goal. And what do I mean by that? I’ll give you three examples.
Take green business building, the scaling of clean technologies. There’s an enormous opportunity to put in place the things we need to get on a net-zero pathway, from which we are now too far away. But it’s also a way to generate a lot of new jobs, to generate growth, and to generate wealth. So it’s absolutely not a trade-off, but two things moving in the same direction.
Second would be efficiency. It’s an old story, but we’ve seen with the current European energy crisis how we actually managed to significantly improve energy efficiency very rapidly. And that applies to both economic value creation as well as better sustainability. The same goes for material circularity, and the need to really push ourselves to implement existing solutions we know will work.
And finally, the well-being of people and sustainability actually go hand in hand. People would enjoy more clean water and clean air, although it will, of course, require investments to scale green and clean technologies. But there is a clear alignment, and I would wish that leaders see this alignment, rather than a false contradiction between well-being and sustainability. And I hope we can make progress by accepting these conclusions at COP27.