Speaking at the Business Council for Sustainable Development’s general meeting last week, Porritt said corporate social responsibility would continue to grow in importance and become a key driver for successful companies.

He also outlined the potential sustainability presents to capital markets through new business models, mindsets, technologies and responsibilities and claimed that together these represented the biggest business opportunity of the coming century.

David Symons, director of corporate service at WSP, the company which hosted the event, said: “Companies that ignore market sentiment make themselves vulnerable to attack, while conversely business can gain advantage by spotting and supplying these opportunities before the competition. This is far more sophisticated than the typical CSR such as company reports and policies.”

David Middleton, CEO of the BCSD-UK added: “Jonathon so eloquently spells out how society has to change the way it functions to be sustainable. To do that, there will be an enormous call on businesses to provide the goods and services to make it happen.

“Which is why we believe the sustainable development agenda is probably the biggest opportunity for the business community since the industrial revolution.”

Sam Bond

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