The climate is changing, and will continue to change, as a result of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Regardless of how quickly we reduce our emissions, a certain amount of change is now inevitable, and there will be implications for society and the businesses that serve it. Clearly, the faster we can cut emissions the lower the impact will be, but we’re now in an era of balancing action to mitigate our emissions with our plans to adapt to changes that are around the corner.
My children are wonderfully obsessed by Albert Einstein and, in particular, his amazing array of inventions. “How could he have known about helicopters?” they squeak in delight to which I answer “Because he was happy to be different”. Of course this suits me as I encourage them, at an age when there is huge peer pressure to conform, not to follow the crowd and to feel comfortable in being themselves. However, it also has resonance in how organisations address their sustainability issues.
Regardless of the recent changes in government and cabinet positions, the UK government has recently put into force binding legislation that pledges to reduce its carbon emissions by 57% from 1990 levels by 2030. These are bold and important targets if we are to meet our Paris COP 21 commitments and keep warming below 2 degrees.
Many of us in the sustainability sector are in the middle of a busy sustainability and carbon reporting cycle be it for regulatory purposes – such as the CRC, MGHGR or one of numerous disclosure and ranking schemes – such as DJSI, FTSE4Good, GRESB, CDP, or perhaps for our own public reporting purposes.
When discussing strategy and sustainability there is, I think, a danger of lapsing into what one of my colleagues affectionately calls “management dude speak”. However, done well, a strategic approach should help manage risks and make the most of opportunities. Here we expand on some of these themes and whilst aiming to keep the dude speak to a minimum!
Earlier this year, Peabody Coal, the largest private sector coal company in the world, filed for bankruptcy amidst falling global coal prices. Peabody Coal is one of five coal companies that have sought bankruptcy since 2011. Financial analysts have attributed what’s happening in the coal sector in part to environmental causes – more stringent legislation and declining demand for coal in favour of lower carbon fuels.
The media have reported another climate change first. Research carried out by scientists found the Bramble Cay melomys (a small rat native to Australia) has become extinct. But more than the extinction of an entire species, itself a terrible occurrence, the researchers concluded that it ‘probably represents the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change’.
An interview with one of our expert CDP consultants
Take a look at our interview with CDP expert consultant Suzannah Sherman about how the changes to the scoring methodology have been received and see if she can help you can squeeze those final few points out of your disclosure before the deadline.
What does a national shortage of biscuits have to do with climate change?
North-West Britain was impacted by significant floods at the end of December 2015 that caused damage and devastation to many homes, businesses and communities. One of the facilities affected by the floods manufactures biscuits. The factory was put out of action due to electrical damage caused by the flood, resulting in a biscuit shortage at the beginning of 2016.
Access to fuel and energy is often left out of humanitarian response planning and implementation, with dire consequences for the most vulnerable communities as well as lost opportunities to cut fuel costs over time, enable income-generating activities and develop local sustainable energy markets.