COP27: What It Means For Business.
“We are, after all, the greatest problem solvers to have ever existed on Earth. If working apart, we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet. Surely working together, we are powerful enough to save it.”
— Broadcast and Documentary veteran David Attenborough at COP26.
As the dust and sand settled in the Egyptian town of Sharm El-Sheikh, COP27 dragged itself to a hard-fought conclusion after two weeks of discussions, resulting in a series of decisions that may be simply akin to putting a band-aid over a bullet wound.
Now more than ever, both government and business agree that net zero is the next major industrial revolution. And like many revolutions beforehand, those that adapt can expect to thrive, those that don’t... may not survive.
Adaptation can assist your business in growing its market reach, enhance long-term sustainability, and improve efficiency, but before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at some key takeaways from COP27.
Loss And Damage
For nearly three decades, developing nations have requested financial aid for loss and destruction — money desperately needed to reconstruct the economic and social infrastructure caused by extreme weather. Their cries were finally heard at COP27, however, now comes the challenging part: creating and funding that promise. It will probably take several years to iron out the finer points of how the fund will be operated, including how the money will be distributed and which nations are likely to be eligible, despite the fact that it was the most notable achievement of the negotiations.
Too Hot To Handle
Two temperature goals were set forward in the 2015 Paris Agreement:
To keep the rise in temperatures well below 2˚C.
To pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5˚C.
Since then, science has made it clear that 2˚C just won’t cut it, and last year at COP26 in Glasgow, countries decided to concentrate on a 1.5˚C target, agreeing to return each year to strengthen this promise. Unfortunately, that target remains on life support. One year later, some nations attempted to back out of the agreement. They failed, but a resolution to cause emissions to peak by 2025 was taken out, to the heartache of many.
Fueling the Fire
Many criticised the final COP27 agreement for not doing enough to reduce harmful emissions and decrease reliance on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas.
Although the deal called for steps to reduce the use of unabated coal power and phase out subsidies for inefficient fossil fuels, some nations wanted to phase out, or at least reduce, all fossil fuels. In the end, just like that annoying ex that won’t stop texting, fossil fuels look set to hang around for quite a lot longer than hoped for.
Well, what does this have to do with my business?
As the great Spiderman quote goes; “With great power, comes great responsibility”, and in an ever-changing world - made ever more volatile since Russia invaded Ukraine - businesses must take note, or risk becoming the villain, and not your friendly neighbourhood superhero.
Climate change isn’t just a problem for governments to fix. Increasingly consumers expect the businesses providing them with goods and services to take a stance, regardless of legislative changes and dreaded fines. As the UN so delicately put it, “to achieve our climate goals, every company, every financial firm, every bank, insurer and investor will need tochange”. And change they must, but how?
Businesses should evaluate their exposure to climate threats and develop adequate resilience. Options include analysing the risks in their supply networks, identifying risk hotspots, prioritising areas for adaptation, and providing supply chain stakeholders with the technical know-how and financial assistance they require to adapt in real time.
Businesses are learning to utilise meteorological data and early warning systems, drought-resistant crops, flood defenses, wastewater collection, cooling systems, and heat-resistant infrastructure. Some are availing of cutting-edge software like CoolPlanetOS. A powerful decarbonisation management system that enables organisations to measure, manage and reduce carbon emissions at scale.
Businesses can use their innovation and investment expertise to create new goods and services while expanding on the tried and trusted classics that help society live sustainably in the new climatic realities. In short, if you have a Research & Development department, use it… a lot.
Less Talk, More Action
The proverbial climate clock is ticking louder than ever. A wider focus on ethical business practices is increasingly being taken into consideration by investors and customers alike, widely known as Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG). With ESG strategy, ratings and investing gaining more traction it’s critical for businesses to consider how their sustainability strategy's short- and long-term plans will be received by the public.
Keeping on top of legislative changes, events and key company announcements in this space is vital. These all have the potential to offer unique opportunities to reinforce and raise the profile of your brand’s ESG stance or to damage it should you fail to shine under the bright lights of the media.
Honesty is the best policy, and it’s imperative for businesses to be transparent about the changes they’re making and where they are on their ESG journey, as well as deliver an effective and authentic marketing plan to reach target audiences. Climate change, decarbonisation, and renewables, once considered taboo subjects of conversation, have transformed into a staple talking point around the water cooler. Businesses globally must lead the way into the new era of sustainability.
Every company must have a strategy to reduce emissions as we move toward a greener future. Taking control of your energy use is a great place to start, and with nearly 15 years of experience, CoolPlanet can help you do just that. We can assist you to minimise consumption, optimise systems, and simplify decarbonisation.
If you want to know more, schedule a call today.