Year 11 | 13 December 2019 | TO ENTER | TO REGISTER

Manage climate change: risks and opportunities

The Cancun Agreements laid the foundation for meaningful progress by setting forth a vision and framework that include commitments and action in mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and reporting, while deliberately leaving some items to be developed at next year's talks.

Without a formal voice in the Cancun climate change summit, the role of business leaders is simultaneously undocumented and implicit. Achieving progress toward these carbon reduction targets relies largely on the ability of the private sector to develop and deploy technologies, enable financing mechanisms, and be a source of innovation rather than stagnation.

We expect to see more action and opportunity for private sector leadership in the following four areas:

Cutting carbon emissions through global supply chains

There are increasing examples of companies moving beyond their owned operations to improve energy efficiency, driving energy and cost savings through their supply chain. It has long been recognized that tackling supply chain carbon emissions is likely to have the most significant environmental impact.

With company reporting of Scope 3 emissions on the rise, we'll finally have guidance to improve measuring and reporting, allowing this trend to advance.

Developing an adaptation strategy

It's too late to stop climate change, and it’s time to start adapting. Businesses must balance short-term market pressures with investments to prepare for the longer term, which may not have an immediate or certain payoff.

The magnitude of the projected slower-burn climate change impacts indicates that the lead time and investment needed to prepare for some of these changes could be significant. While climate change present many challenges for business, even risks can double as opportunities, depending on how prepared you are compared to your peers.

Products and services innovating for climate change needs

Demand for new technology is no longer confined to mitigation. We need products and services to help us adapt to living and operating in a climate of instability. Rising input costs, declining natural resources and increasing disruption will all drive pursuit of tools and technologies that increase energy efficiency and preservation of business and life as usual.

For sectors that are already in the business of delivering solutions, such as information and communications technology, energy, and finance, there has never been a better time to think bigger about how to develop solutions that will enable business partners, suppliers, and customers in all markets to reduce their carbon footprint.

Looking for opportunities to engage in environmental policy

Signs of leadership and progress are strong and fast-moving at the sub-national level, where coalitions of state and city government leaders are working together to drive initiatives to cut carbon emissions. Companies seeking ways to engage in environmental policy should look for opportunities to participate in these initiatives, which happily welcome participation from the business community.

While the Cancun Agreements set a positive tone for the way forward, the continued need for action, innovation, and leadership from business is clear. Those businesses prepared to manage climate change risks and opportunities will be the most resilient in an increasingly unstable future.

by S. C.
06 february 2011, Food & Fun > Nature