Even as COP26 delegates conclude negotiations, it is clear that the climate commitments launched in Glasgow will reshape the agenda for global business. Hopes were high that COP26 would be where the world delivered action on the goals of the Paris Agreement. Debate will go on about whether official talks accomplished enough. To focus only on those developments, though, is to miss the other story that unfolded during COP26, as public-, private-, and cross-sector pledges signaled that the direction of travel is toward net zero. And in hundreds of conversations in Glasgow, executives told us and our colleagues that they expect an acceleration of climate action across the real economy: at the system level, throughout industries, and within organizations.

Our conversations made something else apparent,…

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