I saw this odd story yesterday that BP had released a 'Sustainability Strategy' based on holding its carbon emissions steady while the business was predicted to grow. Of course this is wholly inadequate when emissions have to plummet, but it got me thinking about wider questions such as "Can you call this a Sustainability Strategy as it maintains the business as part of the problem?", and the logical follow-on "What's the threshold to call something a Sustainability Strategy?"

To me, 'Sustainability' implies (and requires) a step change. But how big?

When I developed a strategy for/with NHSBT, the headline quantitative targets were 'carbon footprint halved' and 'zero waste' – big meaty goals. The first of these was based on the Government's carbon trajectory (effectively a science-based target), plus a bit to take it up to a 50% cut (because 50% is easier to communicate than 43%). This seems like a good litmus test for carbon – "is it a science-based target or better?"

You don't have to do the sums to know that BP has flunked the test.

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