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Sustainable Business 2021

Climate action today will enable future generations to thrive

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Gudrun Cartwright

Climate Action Director, Business in the Community

Companies want to do their part before COP26. But the question of ‘how’ can be overwhelming.

Business leadership must be at the heart of the transformation to a resilient, zero carbon future. This autumn, COP26 in Glasgow will see world leaders negotiating new targets to address the climate crisis. To achieve the change needed to keep temperature rise to a safe level, businesses must step up and give governments the confidence to act in time. 

Climate action must be part of business strategy

It is only a matter of time before policy kicks up a gear and those who get ahead of the curve will benefit the most. As the UK recovers from COVID-19, there is a real opportunity to ensure that building back puts us on the right trajectory to a climate safe future. 

But committing to climate action is about more than cutting plastic, having green champions, or even setting a net zero target. It’s about finding ways to create positive impacts for people and nature and collaborating with diverse stakeholders to set targets and deliver strategies that address real world concerns and challenges. 

Businesses need to understand that they can be the change that is so desperately needed.

That’s why at Business in the Community, we’re challenging businesses to create ‘climate positive action’ plans and make three key commitments to:

Assess climate risks and opportunities for your business

  • Think through how both the transition to net zero and the impacts of climate breakdown could affect your company’s business model. The Taskforce for Climate Related Disclosure can give a useful framework.

Set an ambitious net zero target

  • Don’t be afraid to take a bold stance. Making a public commitment through schemes like Race to Zero and sharing your progress will show you are serious. Once you have committed, you have time to set the target and develop your plan and there’s lots of help to get there.

Be inclusive in development and implementation

  • Listen to employees, customers, suppliers and communities to gather as many diverse insights and ideas as you can. Look for synergies where you can deliver benefits for multiple stakeholders and think through how you can be part of a ‘just transition’, by creating new opportunities for people who may lose out. 

Businesses need to understand that they can be the change that is so desperately needed. By implementing ambitious targets and inclusive plans, they can help restore our planet and create a legacy for future generations to thrive. But to do this, business leadership is essential, starting with these steps.

Together we can make the climate crisis history, but only if we act now.

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