ESG

COP27 – Why Does It Matter For Businesses?

At this week's climate summit in Egypt, representatives from the world's nations will gather to examine, debate, and renew their collective commitments to tackling climate change. One year on from the Conference of the Parties (COP) in...

Published November 1, 2022

2 minute read

At this week's climate summit in Egypt, representatives from the world's nations will gather to examine, debate, and renew their collective commitments to tackling climate change. One year on from the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Glasgow – with rising inflation, soaring energy prices, war, instability, and so many other challenges – why will COP27 matter, and what should businesses be doing?

COP26 in Glasgow was the largest-ever climate change conference, attended by over 38,000 people. Nearly 200 countries signed the Glasgow Climate Pact, the first text from any COP to explicitly cite fossil fuels. New policy commitments covered areas such as deforestation, finance, reducing methane emissions, and phasing down coal. There were also new multinational net-zero targets, and up to 90% of global GDP is now covered by such pledges. Since the world’s nations left Glasgow, the number of companies with approved Science-Based Targets has doubled.

However, a newly released report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) indicates that the national pledges since COP26 have made a negligible difference to the predicted 2030 emissions. The Emission Gap Report finds that the international community is falling far short of the Paris goals, with no credible pathway to 1.5°C. Policies currently in place point to a 2.8 °C temperature rise by the end of the century.

UN claims: Every fraction of a degree matters

As the world’s average temperatures continue to rise, so too does the need for organisations to tackle their impacts. Climate change remains both a threat and an opportunity for businesses – to win and retain clients, engage staff and other stakeholders, and in financial accounts for spiralling energy prices. Cutting energy use and carbon is essential to the balance sheet.

Although we see that the transformation toward net-zero is underway, it needs to move faster. Businesses must continue to craft the evolving disruptions, combine investment in technology, and simultaneously pursue behavioral changes. They must embed climate change action in their purpose and strategies if they are to drive revenue, protect their reputations, manage risk, comply with regulations, and demonstrate responsibility.

In EcoOnline, we expect that COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh will be a crucial opportunity for nations to update their Paris Agreement commitments. We encourage every business to stop talking about pledges and agree that the only action we need is action!

Data is key to filling the gap

Studies suggest that fewer than one in ten global companies correctly measure their carbon footprint, so data accuracy will be essential for organisations to build effective plans. Fortunately, wherever you are on your climate action journey, capable, flexible technology solutions are available to measure and manage a ‘trusted view’ of your carbon footprint.

Even for those businesses that have found it difficult to make progress, getting started with climate change action can be as easy as ABCD:

  • Ambition – how far and how fast do you want to go? Do you want to set a Science-Based Target or just set modest goals to begin with?
  • Business Case – what savings will you make, what investments will you need, and how will this win new work or retain existing revenue? Management ‘buy-in’ will be crucial for long-term success.
  • Communicate – how will you engage and discuss your climate goals with your staff, customers, and suppliers? You will need all of them to help if you are to deliver lasting change.
  • Data – what records and data exist already, and what tracking do you need to set up? Understanding your carbon emissions will be central to building a realistic Carbon Reduction Plan

EcoOnline hopes COP27 will bring an even sharper focus to the world’s attention on climate change and the action being taken by society, governments, and businesses to tackle this global priority.

With the coming sustainability reporting regulations, more companies will move from voluntary to mandatory reporting on their climate risks and impact. EcoOnline welcomes such initiatives, leading to more transparent and consistent information. And through granular and comparable data, it will be easier for companies to understand the risks they must act upon to ensure a future-proof business.

Whatever other challenges companies face, they will need to care about their outcomes – and act now – if they care about their future.

 


Author Helene Brodersen

Helene works as Head of ESG & Sustainability. She is passionate about connecting EcoOnline's solutions with the higher purpose of creating safer and more sustainable workplaces for people and the environment. As a former journalist, she dedicates her writing to translating complex topics into easy-to-read and engaging stories. Helene also holds a degree in Sustainability.

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