Climate protection: The challenges for companies are growing

13. September 2021

Around 25,000 people recently met at the UN climate conference “COP26” in Glasgow, Scotland. It is not clear whether the resolutions are sufficient to achieve the important 1.5 degree target for limiting global warming. Companies can go their own way to protect the climate and create real sustainability.

It was a major media and political event in autumn: The UN climate conference “COP26” , which took place from October 31 to November 12, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland, was the 26th annual Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. “COP” stands for “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” (“26th Conference of the Parties”). Around 200 countries and around 25,000 people, including high-ranking heads of state, took part in the COP26.

Goal: limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees

At the United Nations, the outstanding goals of COP26 have been defined as follows:

Reach net global zero by mid-century and keep the 1.5 degree target within reach

Adaptation to protect communities and natural habitats
mobilization of funds
cooperation in implementation
The Federal Agency for Civic Education says the following about the 1.5 degree target: “In their final paper, the states commit themselves far more clearly than before to the goal of limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial age. The global community recognizes that if the 1.5 degree target were reached, the impacts of climate change would be significantly less than if the target were increased by two degrees.”

According to experts, countries have hardly presented any new climate protection commitments

The problem: Experts criticize that the decisions will probably not be enough to really protect the climate. Wolfgang Obergassel, co-head of the International Climate Policy research department at the Wuppertal Institute, for example, said in an interview with the Watson platform: At the conference, the states had hardly presented any new climate protection commitments. Even if all announcements are implemented, there will probably still be twice as many emissions in 2030 as should actually be caused in order to still achieve the 1.5 degree target.

Wolfgang Obergassel emphasizes positively: “But what the conference did achieve is to sharpen the level of ambition we need. The conference managed to recognize the latest results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also in the diplomatic process. […] The IPCC had determined that if we want to meet the 1.5 degree limit, global CO2 emissions must be reduced by around 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2010 and we must even reach net zero by 2050. So the targets are now much more precise and demanding.”

What companies can do now

Of course, business can become active itself and promote climate protection with its own initiatives and activities. A few figures for orientation: The entire energy sector was the largest source of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 at around 82.8 percent, according to the Federal Environment Agency. Industrial processes were responsible for 7.9 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, and agriculture and animal husbandry for around 8.2 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany. In addition, there are the burdens on mobility and on private households, above all due to the operation of furnaces for space heating and hot water provision.

The question therefore arises: How must a company urgently act today in the areas of climate protection and sustainability in order to achieve national climate protection goals? For some companies, climate protection and climate management are already part of everyday practice. For most companies, starting to implement their own climate strategy and accounting for their own emissions will in future be an essential part of the journey towards a legally compliant and sustainably successful way of doing business. One thing can be assumed: the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting obligations for companies and organizations will increase in the future.

Integrate objectives and scenarios into business strategy

A professional setup in climate management and the corresponding reporting includes a comprehensive process from data collection and method selection to scenario analysis and the definition of key figures and goals to the establishment of paths to net zero emissions. At Höppner Management & Consulting, we systematically support companies in recording, reporting and managing their sustainability performance and create sustainability reports in accordance with the criteria of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) or the German Sustainability Code (DNK). We are the compass for sustainable goal achievement and prioritize and integrate the relevant goals and scenarios into the business strategy and sustainable supply chains.

This means: With solutions from the areas of CO2 and climate accounting at company and product level and an entry into a sustainable screening of their own supply chains, companies and organizations can align their own actions with a well-founded climate strategy in a sustainable way. Höppner Management & Consulting advises companies on these processes through the “ Climate Protection and Sustainability ” competence team.

Image Source: Image by Tumisu from Pixabay