COP26 – The Importance of Sustainability for Businesses

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The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) was a crucial step in the fight against climate change in which everyone has a role to play: governments, businesses, and individual citizens. The aim was that with greater collaboration and accountability, we could better enact solutions to the climate crisis.  

In this blog we discuss what COP26 was, why businesses should care about it, and how it can support sustainability. 

What is COP26? 

It was the 2021 global United Nations (UN) climate change summit where countries discussed tackling the crisis. Postponed due to Covid-19, the conference took place in Glasgow between 1st-12th of November 2021. It was the most significant summit the UK has ever hosted. It welcomed negotiators, government representatives, business owners, citizens and world leaders. The summit was regarded as the most significant climate event since the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

COP26 had a few positive outcomes. An agreement was made to re-visit emission reduction plans in 2022 in order to try to keep the 1.5 °C Paris Agreement target achievable. Then the first ever inclusion was made of a commitment to limit (“phase down”) the use of unabated coal. As well, a commitment to climate finance was made for developing countries. 

Why should businesses care about COP26? 

Businesses’ commitment to sustainability and positive social impact materially affects their revenue and values and will even more so in the future. 

Research in 2019 found that 77% of consumers want to buy from companies making positive social impact and 73% of investors say environmental and social factors influence their investment decisions. 

Therefore, businesses must pay close attention to their activities’ impact on climate change and develop long-term sustainable value. How companies can create goals that help achieve sustainability was the central theme of COP26 in Glasgow in 2021. 

What can businesses do to support sustainability? 

While most businesses recognise the importance of a sustainability plan, only a quarter of them have produced a clear business case for driving sustainability. One of the greatest difficulties companies have creating sustainability goals and a clear plan to achieve them is gathering and processing data.  

For this reason, we have an online self-management tool to help businesses take control of their sustainability and social impact – it involves measuring certain indicators and designing a plan to improve. 

The tool has over 250 sustainability indicators, each aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

Investing in sustainable practices brings greater returns for businesses in the long-term, as it increasingly factors into consumers’ and investors’ decision-making. 

Final words  

COP26 and the new plans that have emerged from it indicate the increasing push towards sustainability globally. Everyone has a part to play, from governments to businesses and down to the individual citizen. Many consumers and investors now consider the environmental and social impact of a company before buying from them or investing in them.  

If you would like to hear how we can help your company become more sustainable, contact us here.  

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