Businesses have a central role in addressing the forest issues that are in today’s headlines—including the Indonesian fires (which emitted more CO2 in three weeks than the entire German economy in a year), and the Amazon forests, which may be at a tipping point with serious
Developing countries will need to pay an additional $270 billion more each year to adapt to the impacts of climate change if COP21 fails to elicit increased global pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report by Oxfam.Game-changers in the Paris climate deal warns that developing countries’ economies face being crushed under the double burden of climate change adaptation costs of almost $800 billion and more than twice that in economic losses every year by 2050 if pledges to cut emissions are not improved.
THE NEXT ECONOMY -
Next week marks the start of important climate negotiations in Paris – the aim of COP21 is to deliver a new international agreement that will put the world on track towards a low-carbon future. The feeling in the air is one of optimism – there are high hopes the agreement could go beyond its intended diplomacy and act as a historic catalyst to drive real leadership on the issue.
Despite the recent horrific acts in Paris, next week world leaders will converge on the city for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference — otherwise known as the Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 — to achieve what many hope will be the first legally binding and universal agreement on climate change.
MARKETING AND COMMS -
This Tuesday afternoon breakout session saw Thomas Kolster, founder and creative director at the Goodvertising Agency, and Kerry Eustice, Editorial Partnerships Editor at The Guardian Sustainable Business, share their perspectives on changing the conversation around sustainability values.Early on, Kolster asserted that sustainability advertising is not doing enough to drive change, as it tends to be less engaging than other advertising messages. He and Eustice discussed dos, don’ts and new approaches that could change the way the message of sustainability is communicated.
A majority of business leaders say that a long term agreement at the UN climate summit (COP21) in Paris is critical to supporting private sector investment in low carbon solutions, according to a global study by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture.The UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study report, Special Edition: A Call to Climate Action, also reveals that executives see action on climate change as an opportunity for growth and innovation that will be essential to securing competitive advantage in their industries.
On November 5, 12 Australian companies committed to climate action at the Australian Climate Leadership Summit in Sydney, an official lead-up event to the COP21 UN climate conference. They join over 250 other companies from around the world who have made commitments through the We Mean Business coalition, including over 40 multinationals that are headquartered or active in Australia.
NEW METRICS -
Between 470 to 760 million people could lose their homes to rising sea levels if carbon emissions meet or exceed 4°C of warming — the direction in which business-as-usual is heading — with unstoppable rises to occur over centuries, according to a new report and searchable interactive maps published by Climate Central.
Up to 28 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be captured by existing operational carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects this year, according to a new report launched today by the Global CCS Institute.Now in its sixth year, the Global Status of CCS 2015 profiles two large-scale CCS projects: the Canadian Quest project and the Uthmaniyah CO2-EOR Demonstration Project in Saudi Arabia. Uthmaniyah is the first large-scale CCS project in the Middle East.At the launch of this year's report, the number of operational projects stands at 15, with another seven projects in various stages of construction and due to come online in the next 18 months.
NEW METRICS -
Microsoft has, as of July 1, 2015, achieved carbon neutrality across its manufacturing operations, according to the company’s 2015 Citizenship Report.The software company’s data centers, software development labs, offices and business air travel have been carbon neutral since July 2012.Microsoft was able to achieve carbon neutrality across its global operations due to its internal carbon fee. The program puts a price on carbon and makes the company’s business divisions responsible for the cost of reducing and compensating for the carbon emissions associated with their electricity use and air travel.
Fellows from the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Climate Corps program this summer helped more than 90 organizations in the United States and China identify energy efficiency and clean energy opportunities that could decrease energy usage by 134 million kWh per year, according to a recent announcement.
These energy savings could help cut these organizations’ collective energy bills by $90 million dollars, and reduce carbon emissions by 130,000 metrics tons per year — equivalent to the annual emissions of 27,000 cars.
SUPPLY CHAIN -
In a recent review of corporate responsibility reports from major consumer-facing brands, Environmental Defense Fund found that barely half of the companies mentioned the environmental impact of their freight supply chain and the steps they were taking to reduce this impact. This is unfortunate for two reasons: Freight transportation is a major source of corporate-caused climate pollution, and it’s ripe for rapidly achieving significant cost-savings and emissions reductions.
CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING -
The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) released the first-ever industry materiality assessment in its 2015 Sustainability Report on Tuesday. Sustainability analytics firm Framework LLC conducted the assessment using data from across the sector’s value chain to map critical risks and opportunities, and found materials, transparency, and greenhouse gases among the top concerns for the $30 billion cleaning products industry.
General Mills, IKEA and Best Buy are among the 81 companies to recently join the White House-led American Business Act on Climate Pledge, which sets significant greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy sourcing goals for 2020 and beyond.The pledges focus on increasing energy efficiency, boosting low-carbon investing and making sustainability more accessible to low-income Americans.
Toyota recently announced a set of goals to be achieved over the next 35 years, which address key global environmental issues such as climate change, water shortages, resource depletion and degradation of biodiversity.The Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 aims to reduce the negative impact of manufacturing and driving vehicles as much as possible. The challenge is composed of six individual challenges across three areas: Ever-better cars, ever-better manufacturing and enriching lives of communities.Ever-better cars
Equator Kenya, a food-processing company that produces African Bird’s Eye Chilies for export, has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to provide climate-smart technologies, training and market linkages to 8,000 smallholder farmers along the Kenyan coast.This business is designed to reduce the crop risks posed by climate change, which will help increase incomes among the farmers — 6,000 of whom are women — as well as improve crop yields and quality.
NEW METRICS -
New Leaf Paper founder Jeff Mendelsohn hosted a workshop on day one of Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics ’15 about an improved Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) framework that helps users make better decisions by incorporating current climate science impacts, as well as greater transparency and comparability. The framework is called LEO-SCS-002 and is in the process of being added to current LCA standards.
NEW METRICS -
Think talking about investment is always boring? Think again: This had to have been the most highly charged workshop at New Metrics ’15.
U.S. reliance on wind, solar and other renewable sources of energy has reached historic levels and is poised to make even greater gains in the near future, according to new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).A Tectonic Shift in America's Energy Landscape finds that the energy sector in the United States emitted less dangerous carbon pollution last year than in 1996, with a full 10 percent reduction over the past decade. Meanwhile, coal and electricity consumption are down nationwide, while oil use today is lower than in the early 1970s, the report shows.
NEW METRICS -
Clearly, with an exploding population, rapidly accelerating fossil fuel-based consumption and climate catastrophe all looming, the current “net negative” state – whereby we extract more than we return – needs to change. The radically opposite concept – giving more than taking – is ideal.