Are you feeling unusually warm today? It might be a random weather variation … or it might be that the world is getting hotter. Alternatively, it might be the uncomfortable feeling that those pesky media types will be knocking on your door any minute to demand answers to some awkward questions.

The overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate change is real, it’s happening now, it will get worse and something drastic needs to be done. As protests increase and awareness of the emergency grows, the media will start sniffing around the corporate world to try and figure out who’s to blame and what they propose to do about it.

If you’re a responsible CEO, you should already have thought about this and have come up with some kind of plan. If you haven’t, here’s a heads up of the questions to which your customers, employees, shareholders and the media will be wanting answers very soon:

• Do you use material extracted from nature that cannot be replaced?
• How do you offset the harm done to the natural world by obtaining it?
• What will you do when it runs out?
• What steps are you taking to source sustainable alternatives?
• Do your activities pollute the air, the land or the water?
• How do you plan to stop this and offset the damage caused so far?
• When your products become waste, do they pollute the air, the land or the water?
• Are they recyclable?
• Are they sold in unnecessary plastic packaging?
• Is there too much packaging generally?
• Are your employees, wherever they are in the world, safe from environmental harm caused by their work or your processes?
• Are your work practices safe?
• Do your employees earn a living wage?
• Can you give the same positive answers for the companies in your supply chain and those who work for them?

If you can’t answer all these questions positively, the best course of action is NOT to keep your head down and hope no one notices. An honest and open answer along the lines of ‘we’re not perfect but we’re doing our best to change’ will satisfy most inquirers. But you never know when the next journalist will come calling, or the next environmental campaign call for a boycott of your products.

And environmental claims must be backed up by evidence of genuine action. Mere ‘greenwashing’ just doesn’t cut it anymore.