The existence of climate change cannot be denied. Its effects can be seen every day: heat waves, fires, droughts, floods, irregularities in weather patterns… This affects crops, the survival of species, rising sea levels, etc. How have we got to this point? Unfortunately, we human beings are the main culprits of global warming, and it is now also in our hands to stop this process. To raise awareness, the United Nations has established the International Day Against Climate Change, to be commemorated every 24th of October. In this post we are going to explain how companies can tackle climate change, based on five core ideas.
- Measuring and reducing emissions
The first step to curb global warming is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A committed company must calculate its own CO2 emissions and carbon footprint. It can then adopt measures to reduce these emissions, such as using renewable energy sources in its facilities, using eco-friendly vehicles, minimising the consumption of paper in its offices and plastic in its products, installing LED lighting systems, avoiding unnecessary journeys on the most polluting modes of transport, such as air travel, and replacing them with videoconferences…
Another way that companies can help is by compensating for the amount of CO2 that they generate, for example by allocating economic resources to planting trees capable of absorbing an equivalent amount, or to projects that avoid the emission of a similar volume through energy efficiency, the promotion of renewable energy, or waste treatment.
- Decarbonising the supply chain
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the eight main global supply chains account for more than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. We must move towards the decarbonisation of these chains, and with this aim in mind, we must promote a circular economy to reduce the use of new raw materials, renew production processes, and support a sustainable transportation model based on clean fuels such as electricity or hydrogen.
Companies must be selective when choosing their suppliers, and try to work only with those who have integrated sustainability into their business and who are concerned about reducing emissions. In addition, they should rethink their processes, reconsider their geographic supply and distribution strategies, and promote environmentally friendly products, among other initiatives.
- Integrating sustainability into the business
A company’s commitment to sustainable development needs to be cross-cutting: it is neither a marketing issue, nor one belonging to CSR… It is not unique to a single department. Sustainability affects all areas of the company and must make up part of the overall corporate strategy. This will involve integrating sustainability into the business, incorporating the entire strategy in the SDG 13 Climate Action, and supporting this goal, set by the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda, in every possible way in order to curb the effects of global climate change.
Fighting climate change must be part of a company’s mission and purpose. We must therefore shape our sustainability strategy based on analysis to decide which main strategic aspects to focus on. It is important to note that a sustainable company is not just protecting the planet. It is also more efficient and productive in itself, which reduces costs; it improves its corporate image, which is beneficial for its reputation with its customers and users; and it is more attractive to potential investors, to name but a few of its advantages.
- Innovating and digitalising of company processes
Technology is an essential factor in sustainable development. It is behind many of the innovations that have enabled our society to use less polluting vehicles, to practice more efficient energy consumption, to use new and less environmentally-damaging materials, and to recycle and reuse raw materials to make better use of resources, to highlight just a few of its many uses and capabilities. Technology manages to find intelligent solutions to countless problems; it would not be possible to achieve a zero-emission economy without a firm and decisive commitment to innovation.
Within organisations, there are also many processes that can be optimised through digitalisation and automation. It is important to not let these fall to the wayside. This is where tools come into play to help us manage our own sustainability strategies, measure our actions and report the impact of their results, while at the same time moving towards information transparency.
- Raising social awareness
Stopping climate change is a task for all of us, and the role that companies play in this is vital, not simply through adopting internal policies and solutions such as those we have mentioned: they also act as spokespeople for society. By implementing informative initiatives, companies are a key means to raising awareness and educating the public about these substantial challenges that we face as a society.
Companies have the resources to give visibility to third-party initiatives, and even to launch their own actions and get their stakeholders involved (employees, customers, suppliers, investors), thus helping to create sustainable communities and channeling common efforts towards the same objective to generate a positive impact on the planet.
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