The typical image of corporate enterprise as existing entirely distinct from (or even in direct ideological opposition to) notions of stewardship of the environment (or of other social concerns such as gender equality) is now as outdated as the stereotype of the bearded, sandal-wearing hippy environmentalist.
In an age where popular opinion is united to an extraordinary degree in respect of environmental matters such as climate change, companies can simply not afford to ignore the relevance of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors to the image of their business.
It is interesting to see that, in addition to this, the view that environmental concerns should also be viewed as directly relevant to the bottom line is now part of the economic mainstream, rather than one held by a few eccentric outliers.
There is some solid good sense to this. Increased environmental awareness helps promote efficiency by preventing issues of pollution or contamination before they arise which avoids the need for costly remediation. A focus on sustainable growth is not just a bonus, but essential in an increasingly crowded and globalised world.
This is also relevant in the context of the road to Net Zero - for the next few decades at least, the green economy is likely to be at the heart of the UK economy as a whole with corresponding implications for companies in all sectors of industry.
Moreover, the growing menace of climate change promises to have a very real impact on the global financial system - hence calls from central bankers such as Mark Carney for a "greening" of this system. This impact will also be felt at the level of individual business: companies that fail to pay heed to this, risk real financial repercussions.
Where there is risk, there is also opportunity. Companies that are prepared to show real commitment to environmental values (and social values, and values of good governance) stand to benefit in material terms, beyond mere greenwashing of corporate image.
In 1970, prevailing economic theory gave businesses permission to put societal concerns to bed. Milton Friedman's seminal New York Times Magazine piece, "The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits," said it was not industry's job to refrain from damaging the environment, prevent economic inequality, or invest in philanthropic causes. Friedman, the 1976 Nobel Laureate in economic sciences, theorized that businesses create private wealth, and wealth would fix society's problems. But in the 50 years since, more recent thinking by Friedman's Nobel Laureate successors has challenged that theory, even as it acknowledges its logic.