What we're doing about COP26
In November 2021, following a year's lockdown delay, the leaders of 196 countries are coming to Glasgow for the COP26 climate conference.
The conference is a milestone in our fight against climate change, as we seek agreement on action to mitigate the impact it has on our world. Although we are still dealing with a pandemic, recovery presents a historic opportunity to tackle this global threat at the same time. Emperor’s Harriet Palmer wrote an interesting insight on this moment recently, which is well worth a read.
Since the landmark Paris climate agreement in 2015, it might seem like we’ve had huge success. And arguably we have. Around the world, we have seen net zero commitment after net zero commitment, wholesale changes in how we produce our energy and think about our infrastructure. Last year, the government set out a Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution to help us reach our climate commitments while boosting the economy and creating jobs. For companies, the COP action tracker on edie.net cites 4,655 organisations joining the Race to Zero, while 844 businesses have approved science-based targets.
Green science has gone mainstream and is seen as good business.
But is it enough?
The answer, currently, is no. That’s why at COP26 people aren’t just looking for more ambitious targets, but also an explanation on exactly how we will all achieve them. Greenwashing is no good; how do we plan to phase out coal more quickly, curtail deforestation and protect and restore many of our ecosystems, and up the pace of switching to electric vehicles?
A lot of it will depend on money. It’s critical that the most developed countries deliver on their promise to raise $100 billion in climate finance a year, while international financial institutions must play a big role.
At Emperor, we needed to update our environmental strategy, be more ambitious and put better systems and processes in place to reduce our carbon footprint. At an operational level, we have been embedding our new approach and working with Green Element to identify our areas of focus and define targets. Our Green Team will be engaging all of our partners with our new ambitions alongside raising awareness of COP26 and its objectives in the run up to the event.
COP26 represents a prescient moment. One which might have an absolutely vital role in our history, we will all be watching with vested interest at how it plays out.