IPCC sets the challenge, business must drive the solutions

Post author image. Gudrun Cartwright
Gudrun Cartwright Environment Director calls for companies to demonstrate that meaningful action is being taken on a fair and inclusive transition to a future where people and nature thrive.
Image of Gudrun Cartwritght in a lime green jumper smiling into the camera

Part of the sixth assessment report from the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), focusing on mitigation, issued a ‘now or never’ call to action to world leaders.    

Greenhouse gas emissions, which are still rising, must peak by 2025 and then be halved by 2030, from a 2019 baseline, to avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown.1 The panel’s report is clear, we must rapidly wean ourselves from fossil fuels, change consumption patterns and scale up our use of clean energy and storage capacity to succeed. 

But the window is small. As IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee says, “The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming.”

 

Together we can make the climate crisis history. Our actions today will define the outcomes that will be our collective legacy tomorrow. 
We need to become the solution.

Gudrun Cartwright

 

The importance of global collaboration, already in sharp focus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the horrific impacts of conflict in Ukraine, is reinforced again. The need to make our economy resilient to global shocks that continue to raise the costs of living and see energy prices spiralling is essential. Especially if we are to ensure that businesses and communities can prosper. 

The report sees huge potential in reducing demand for high emission products and services and suggests ways that all our choices can make a difference. This will only increase pressure from government, investors and the public for business to be part of delivering joined-up solutions. Radical energy efficiency, rapid scaling of zero-carbon energy production and our ability to store it. Finding ways to produce life’s essentials in ways that regenerate communities and nature, will all be key.

This in turn means that companies need to build new leadership roles. To work alongside government to redesign products, services, business models and the wider economy to a new, lasting model of prosperity where those who are excluded or vulnerable can benefit. 

As Business in the Community’s (BITC) recent research showed, 45% of companies don’t have a target or plan to cut emissions in line with UK government commitments, nor do they intend to produce them.2 And most people don’t believe companies will deliver if they do make commitments.

Companies must now demonstrate that they are taking meaningful action to restore trust and maintain a license to operate. Bring entrepreneurial spirit, problem-solving abilities and innovation potential to deliver solutions at speed and scale. In short, step up to lead a fair and inclusive transition to a future where people and nature thrive.

So BITC is calling on all companies across the UK to:

  • Put climate action, that delivers a just transition to a net-zero, resilient future, at the heart of your strategy and purpose, using BITC’s Seven Steps for Climate Action toolkit to help you.
  • Include a robust net-zero target, as close to 2030 as possible, even if you don’t know how you will get there, then develop an action plan for the next year to get you moving.
  • Invite diverse stakeholders to be part of shaping your strategy and action plan to ensure that you are serving your communities, then publish widely, using accessible language and channels.
  • Review the skill sets and roles within your organisation and think through how these might need to change and involve employees in designing their future roles.
  • Explore how embedding circular approaches to resource use in your products and services can promote efficiency and innovation, focusing on key-value streams across their lifecycles.  

Together we can make the climate crisis history. Our actions today will define the outcomes that will be our collective legacy tomorrow. We need to become the solution. Tackle the biggest shared challenge for our collective, long-term peace and security by creating a net-zero, resilient future where people and nature thrive. There is no time to lose.

Join us to work it fairer,
greener, together….

References

1 IPCC (2022) Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Summary for policymakers. 
2 Business in the Community (2022) The right climate for business: Leading a just transition.