For over 3 Decades the UN has been collectively bringing together almost every country on earth for climate summits called COP (Conference of the Parties). COP defines & discusses the importance of climate change, which has been brought to the forefront as a global priority requiring consistent action to work to change the trajectory of side effects impacting us all across the world.
Introducing COP (Conference of the Parties)
With the UK as President at COP26 and with Egypt as the COP27 host, the annual summit, brings together, world leaders along with negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens to meet and to discuss the unique urgency of working together to reach the Paris Agreement. This agreement was created in 2015 to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees, with an aim of 1.5 degrees, with all countries that are a part of COP are committed to bringing forward plans on how they will reduce their emissions, (known as Nationally Determined Contributions NDCs) and where money is made available to deliver on these aims and to adapt to the changing climate that causes the damage to livelihoods and loss of live.
The agreed plan is to be reviewed and updated every 5 years to reflect the lengths of change and pace required according to the output of emissions and the need to limit global warming to the agreed 1.5 degrees, and to radically reduce targets by the end of 2030 to align with the net-zero 2050 goal.
The Complexities & Outcomes of COP26
Taking Place in Glasgow at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), COP26 was the 26th annual summit taking place in November 2021. It called upon countries to strengthen and reduce their 2030 emission reduction targets to align with the Paris temperature goal by the end of 2022 and developed countries were encouraged to look at their financial adaptions by doubling up prior to 2025 to work towards meeting the 1.5-degree target.
At COP 26 the UK agreed it would look to:
1) Collaborate by working together to deliver greater action
2) Enable Finance to assist countries to deliver on their climate goals
3) Adapt for loss and damage by helping those impacted by climate change.
COP26 Pledges & Outcomes
The pledges from many countries gave assurances of implementation and commitments made towards reducing global warming which needs to be kept below 2 degrees and over the coming decade further action would be decided in order to reach the agreed 1.5 degree target from the Paris Agreement.
In real terms this agreement looked to accelerate and to close the implementation gap on the energy transition to greener energies, halt and reverse forest loss, speed up our switch to electric vehicles and to reduce our methane emissions.
COP26 marked the final of 6 years in negotiation of the Paris rulebook which enables full transparency of how countries are implementing the changes agreed with robust rules for international carbon trading and the products of the Enhanced Transparency Framework to enable accountability and confidence and common timeframes for NDCs — so that comparatives of targets can be made with ease to consistently improve emission reporting and international carbon markets and non-market approaches with trust.
The COP26 Breakthrough Agenda committed accountability to those in agreement to work together to make clean and sustainable solutions, affordable, accessible and an attractive option in emission sectors that come under greenhouse gases such as power, road transport, steel, agriculture and land use etc before the end of the decade.
International climate summits are complex in nature with many countries involved, technical terms expressed and explanations used. These summits look to the impact upon our environment, based on way we live, work, build and how we adapt our way of being looking at clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies to build back better and stronger by delivering a ‘green industrial revolution’.
COP: The Highlights of COP27 & Positive Climate Change Actions
Bringing together an estimated 35,000 people from across the globe, COP27 was held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to once again deliberate progress and actions towards positive climate change.
The expectations were raised to highlight previous decisions made and would look to see the progress of implementation and to uphold the needs and priorities of the most vulnerable countries.
The main decisions to be adopted have been set up under an implementation plan called SHIP (Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan). Seen as a way to advance member efforts with particular emphasis towards the Loss and Damage fund. This was highlighted as a key milestone in setting precedence for climate justice with questions raised about how this would be operationally designed to ensure the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States were supported.
With mitigation still to be achieved to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees this will require the extensive and rapid reduction of greenhouse gas and through
establishing adaption of goals and the climate finance goal process. It is important from the pledges for countries to deliver on their commitments and obligations of emission-reduction goals through National Determined Contributions (NDC’s) and other alliance efforts.
The Importance & Implication of COP27 in Business
With the annual UN-Led COP gauging global progress towards net zero, the impact can have wide-ranging effects for businesses and governments with COP27 bringing standardisation, legislations and developments in decarbonisation too.
With a high emphasis placed upon businesses to collectively look to reduce carbon emissions, the focus will be on responsibility and ownership of how to pro-actively impact operations — looking at adaptability to the climate change effects on people, and our climate commitments to improve output of gas emissions such as greenhouse gas and to further protect our planet.
Without change, supply chains will be challenged, regulations and costings will continue to increase, and operational as well as reputational impacts can all be affected. Businesses can look at many ways in which they can improve their impact by looking at eco audits, offsetting projects through scope 1,2 and 3 options and by looking at building their own net zero plans as well as considering best practice of ESGs (Environmental, social and governance).
ESGs that focus on sustainable and ethical impacts, such as energy and resources that affect the environment, our relationships and our reputations along with the diversity and inclusion of an organisation have equal relevance within broader society and the governance of internal systems, practices etc to govern itself and in accordance to the law and additional stakeholder interests.
The Woven Link Between Profit, Purpose & Creating Better Environments
With links made between profit and purpose, as separate, yet linked to the connection of ESGs, it should remain front of mind that as the importance becomes heightened and as public pressures see organisations commit to the countries, locations and communities with which they operate within, they strengthen their purpose as a company and how it is viewed within a community – making businesses an attractive prospect to future employees, public perception and placing value in creating better environments for us all to work and live within.
At Sustain Quality we understand the need for COP & the implications of climate change. We work to sustainability goals, EU directives, legislation and align with global reporting methodology, certified standards & protocols, for all viable projects, clients and builds seeking sustainable routes and options.
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