'Sustainability’ is the topic of the day. Hundreds, if not thousands, of studies and papers have already been published about it. However, the huge majority of them adopt a political or macro-economic approach. The social aspects are rarely deeply investigated, and the issue of the cost of sustainability is largely overlooked. This paper aims at evidencing some of the links between the macro-economic dimension and the micro-economic one, through the question of decarbonization, which is probably the key element for sustainability, considering the main social consequences such a dramatic change implies and trying to tackle the tricky problem of the cost of decarbonization both at the macro and micro levels. After trying to clarify the concept of sustainability and the central part played by decarbonization, we examine the question of the global cost of decarbonization and analyze some examples of companies in this respect. Findings: Even allowing for large margins of error due to the incomplete data available and the parameters that cannot be controlled, or even known, the estimates that can be made show that the cost of decarbonization is absolutely baffling and beyond what the common citizens and managers, not to speak of politicians, can imagine, which can be a big reason why the subject is largely overlooked as it would surely create social upheavals round the world. Methodology: The study is based on data extracted from various reports on sustainability, climate change and decarbonization, notably by the IPCC, for the macro-economic dimension, and from the Annual Reports (2020) of the companies studied. These data are processed so as to calculate an estimate of the cost of decarbonization. Originality: This paper is an attempt at filling part of the gap in the scant number of studies about the cost of decarbonization.
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