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Sustainable Business 2021

Counting down to COP26: A business-critical opportunity

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Luke Nicholls

Content Director, edie

The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this November represents a critical opportunity for businesses to lead the world into a cleaner, greener future.

Despite facing the worst public health crisis in more than 100 years, businesses maintained the drumbeat of climate action throughout 2020-21, laying the foundations for a decade of green industrial revolution. Now, we must pick up the pace.

COP26 can be the catalyst. Every business decision we make in the run-up to the talks – every investment, every innovation, every target – needs to have climate at the centre. Here are three such decisions, drawn from edie’s flagship Countdown to COP26 virtual event held in May:

1. Aligning with a 1.5°C future

The push to reach net zero carbon emissions shows no sign of abating, with around two thirds of global GDP now covered by some form of net zero target. Businesses have followed suit, with more than 2,300 of the world’s largest corporates having set net-zero goals under the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign. Now is the time to join the race – but it is critical that all decarbonisation goals are science-based and aligned with a 1.5°C future.

2. Building climate resilience

The pandemic and its accompanying lockdowns have triggered both a collective appreciation of nature and a renewed respect for the catastrophic damage it can unleash. Amidst a perfect storm of population growth, mass urbanisation and escalating climate change, businesses must now start adopting measures – including nature-based solutions – to make value chains resilient to climate risks.

3. Driving engagement

As we learned from COVID-19, global problems need a collective business response. COP26 is absolutely our moment to deliver the climate emergency response and that starts with building an army of changemakers. The talks are an ideal opportunity to raise awareness and galvanise action across the business. But remember: COP26 is the beginning, not the end.

Through the Countdown to COP26 Festival of digital content and events (May-Oct), edie is empowering sustainability, energy and environmental professionals of all levels to seize the opportunity of the crucial UN talks and accelerate climate action.

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