It's 2040, and human rights extend to everything - rivers, lakes, lands and every living creature. No longer are humans the only ones protected by laws and regulations, but so is the environment around us.

An elevated consciousness has taken hold. With near complete transparency of supply chains and their impacts on the environment, organizations and individuals are highly aware of their actions and the impact they have on the environment. Organizations and individuals receive individual CO2 allowances, making the accountability personal. This also allows governments, legislative bodies and institutions to take greater measures to enforce and protect the rights of nature. Nature is now fought for in court and its rights are seen as equal to human rights. In this reality, entire new business models are based on maintaining environmental accountability.

These changes have had a radical effect on businesses and the way they build their operating models. As communal networks provide for most of individuals' daily needs, the use of natural resources - land, water, soil and more - is now heavily tolled to reimburse nature through conservation and rehabilitation.

Why did this happen?

In the 2020s, numerous countries made long-term commitments to net-zero carbon emissions and started to create long-term policy frameworks that were to incentivize and reallocate environmental accountability. Legally, environmental accountability was given new ground as individuals started pursuing general environmental damages or stepped up on behalf of natural resources. At the same time, a disruptive reshaping of environmental accountability began at the grassroots level as focused education and heightened awareness of climate change led to younger generations changing how they interact with the environment. Fundamental shifts in societal thinking were made possible by young activists taking center stage as the next generation of leaders. Together, they pushed the world to reimagine and redefine the definition of environmental identity, environmental rights and accountability.


Today, a society has been achieved where nature and humans have equal rights and everyone strives towards resource minimalism. This has driven resource utilization to record lows, with environmental, social and governance (ESG) regulations and laws protecting nature and wildlife as much as they do people.

Countries across the globe work together to ensure environmental protection, underpinning the world's newfound global ecological consciousness. However, the transparency in reporting and tracking environmental footprints demands ethical and surveillance regulations that some find intrusive.

While it's crucial to celebrate progress, challenges remain. The technological risks and advances have caused a shift in the workforce and the structure of businesses. These shifts have disproportionately benefited wealthier nations and, in some cases, increased gaps in quality of life and competitiveness.



Ali O’Mara

Ali O’Mara

KPMG in Ireland

Elanor Cansdale

Elanor Cansdale

University of Leeds

Markus Heckhausen

Markus Heckhausen

KPMG in Germany


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