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Why Firms Should Take Climate Change Action

From Environmental Leader, Published 28 April 2014

Mobilizing industry to take action to slow climate change involves translating climate risks for business, building an “architecture of participation” for climate action, and stabilizing the climate system through “resilience wedges,” says a study by Business for Social Responsibility.

In its report, Business in a Climate-Constrained World: Catalyzing a Climate-Resilient Future through the Power of the Private Sector, BSR says business is increasingly exposed to risks from climate change, with some estimates putting the cumulative global cost as high as $4 trillion by 2030.

While many businesses are already beginning to act — with 84 percent of Global 500 companies reporting that they have emissions - reductions targets, and 75 percent reporting that they have already reduced emissions in some areas of their business — the report highlights the need for a greater commitment to ambition to match the volume of activity.

To address this gap in the level of corporate ambition on climate, BSR proposes a three-part strategy:

1. Translate climate risks for business.
2. Invest in collaboration to create an “architecture of participation” for climate action, allowing industries and other stakeholders to help each other and the communities in which they operate.
3. Stabilize the climate system through “resilience wedges” proposed by BSR. These wedges — which BSR will develop based on the stabilization wedges created by Princeton University professors Robert Socolow and Stephen Pacala — will identify meaningful action through manageable steps related to both greenhouse gas emissions mitigation and adaptation across eight industry clusters: consumer products, food/beverage/agriculture, energy and extractives, information and communications technology, healthcare, financial services, transportation and logistics, and travel and tourism.

The BSR report follows the grim prognosis delivered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this month. The IPCC, the UN’s top panel on climate change, said in its April report that emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.

For more information regarding climate change and the 2014 IPCC Report, please refer to the following links below:

Climate Change Mitigation Making Waves in the Corporate World
Going Beyond Climate Change Mitigation through Environmental Risk Management
Climate Change is a Stakeholder’s Business