For achieving sustainable growth and mitigating climate change, it is imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, significantly impacting the climate and environment. And, to highlight the importance and urgency of adopting climate change actions, several targets have been set by the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. To achieve these targets, it is critical to take up collaborative efforts as well as develop robust and technically advanced climate action solutions.
Broadly speaking, businesses’ climate action strategies would include adopting renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydro energy – reducing their emissions, retrofitting buildings in order to make them energy-efficient, decarbonizing supply chain and much more.
Moreover, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on 1.5 degrees of global warming specifically highlights how important and urgent it is to take climate change actions and reach the goal of net-zero by 2050.
So, let’s begin with understanding the practicality and effectiveness of businesses’ climate action strategies and solutions that can greatly reduce emissions and help combat climate change.
- Reduce Emissions
It is important that the emission reduction targets align with climate science, beginning with reducing emissions by at least 50% from the company’s operations in the next 10 years. These would include emissions from furnaces and vehicles, purchasing of electricity, heating and cooling, etc. However, how can businesses do this?
- Mapping out their greenhouse gas emissions.
- Deciding the reduction commitment’s base year and setting an official target.
- Deciding the order of eliminating emissions and developing a plan to reach the targets.
- Announcing targets and being transparent by disclosing their company’s carbon emissions, devising strategic plans to reduce them, etc.
- Reducing Value Chain Emissions
Basically, value or supply chain emissions include emissions from upstream activities, like from suppliers, as well as downstream activities like sold products. Generally, they present the major share of a company’s carbon footprint.
Therefore, it is imperative for companies to drive down the emissions of the value chain, which can be done in several ways, such as procurement guidelines, criteria of supplier code of conduct, changes in product design, collaborations with customers and suppliers, etc., helping them achieve their business’s climate action targets.
The businesses can achieve this by :
- Mapping out the carbon emissions associated with a business’s value chain to understand the substantial ones and systematically track them.
- Set a target to halve the absolute value chain emissions within the first year
- Develop a plan to reach the targets by deciding the order of reducing carbon emissions
- Disclosing value chain emissions and plans to reduce them
- Integrating Climate Into Your Business Strategy
Fundamentally, a number of companies must be redesigned in order to achieve the 1.5°C targets. This would require a transformation of business models that could drive innovation and open up new revenue systems. And, the businesses can start this by mapping out their company’s net-zero future. In addition, the businesses can take actions such as:
- Reviewing and updating the business’s mission statement, vision, processes and devising business’ climate action strategies to reflect climate commitment.
- Moving their portfolio towards solutions that can help the customers avoid emissions and, gradually, scaling these solutions exponentially.
- Integrating business’s climate action strategy in the services and product roadmaps and devise all climate action solutions to be compatible and in accordance with the 1.5°C ambition.
- Influencing Climate Action In Society
The climate leaders can make the best use of their sphere and company network to accelerate climate action. This can be achieved by influencing the wide circle of suppliers, customers, governments, NGOs, etc. The best example is the Race to Zero campaign.
This can be done by influencing and working with a wide circle of customers, suppliers, governments and NGOs.
The businesses can achieve this by:
- Collaborating with suppliers to enable the sustainable transformation of value chains with the support of innovative technologies
- Influencing nationals and policymakers to frame policies aligning with 1.5°C ambition.
- Increase Energy Efficiency and Use of Renewable Energy
Globally, the energy use is approximately one-third lower than what it would have been without any energy efficiency improvements. Therefore, with the adoption of renewable energy sources, businesses can achieve unimaginable levels of emission reduction.
Renewable sources of energy solve the dual purpose of increasing energy efficiency and cost-saving. Moreover, in a number of countries, developing utility-scale renewable energy has a lower cost than or maybe on par with fossil fuel plants.
- Promoting Technology, Digitalization and Innovation
Digitalization and advanced technology are becoming an important part of climate change action and facilitators of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Especially when technology innovation is implemented in partnership with the private sector, it can support economic growth while reducing GHG emissions.
Moreover, digitalization and technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc., play a key role in emerging and innovative solutions based on real-time data, including clean technologies, supportive policies and strategies, and much more.
Take a Step Towards Climate Leadership
A few companies might have a few things or resources in place already, and some might not have anything. However, collaborative efforts will prove the key here for having practical and innovative climate action solutions. With effective climate action strategies, businesses can drive innovation, become resilient and create business growth and become climate leaders.