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COP26 – Promises to progress: a summary of the UN Climate Change Conference

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There was much rhetoric and several significant pledges at what has been the most high-profile UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties to date. The topic has led the headlines every day for the past fortnight, which only serves to underline the scale of the climate change crisis and the speed with which it must be tackled.

Here we round up the key developments and signpost useful resources that might help in shaping your organisation’s activities – because right now is most certainly the time for action.

1. Businesses net zero plans will face greater scrutiny

2. Energy efficiency will be crucial to net zero

  • Former US President Barack Obama championed energy efficiency, saying “Companies are starting to figure out that becoming energy efficient is better for their bottom line” and that being a sustainable leader will help firms “win customers and employees“.
  • The Exponential Roadmap Initiative launched the 1.5°C Supplier Engagement Guide to halve GHG emissions before 2030, which will provide valuable support in addressing Scope 3 emissions.
  • The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) unveiled its ‘Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap’ – a tool to help businesses across the built environment sector measure and cut carbon from materials, processes, operation and demolition. It also includes several policy recommendations for government, particularly around setting clear energy reduction targets for domestic and non-domestic properties.
  • The COP26 Product Efficiency Call to Action was launched by the International Energy Agency, which calls to improve the efficiency of four key products – air conditioners, refrigerators, industrial motors and lighting – by 2030.

3. Renewables will need to be part of business’ procurement strategies, as the use of fossil fuels is ‘phased down.’

  • 190 countries and organisations have pledged to phase down the use of coal power – this was a much publicised and 11th hour amendment to the original commitment to ‘phase out’.
  • Over 20 countries have signed up to a new declaration pledging to end the financing of fossil fuel infrastructure overseas.
  • There was a pledge by nearly 100 countries to cut methane levels by 30% by 2030 – particularly relevant for sectors like agriculture and waste management.
  • In the UK, the government confirmed £210m funding for Rolls Royce to develop small nuclear reactors to generate clean energy.

4. Businesses will need to focus on clean transportation

Achieving net zero can seem like a daunting prospect for nations and business alike. One thing is clear from the event of the past two weeks – this is a challenge that we all must take on together. It cannot be done alone. Effective collaboration with customers, suppliers, colleagues and stakeholders is the key.

There is support out there to help you make progress… step by step. Our expert team at Envantage are on hand to answer any questions you may have, so get in touch today.

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