Climate continues to witness one of the most dramatic changes of all times with rising ocean levels, melting glaciers, increased CO2 levels, declining aquatic life and wildlife with rapid extinction of endangered flora and fauna species. The impact of global warming can be seen all around us given the increasing frequency and amplitude of extreme climatic events and unpredictable weather conditions across the globe.
Though much of the world has awoken to the alarming impact of climate change and are working towards rehabilitating the planet, there are many who continue to be ignorant of their climate responsibilities. Much of the climate activism can be attributed to the Conference of Parties (COP) of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meets over the years wherein participating countries have encouraged their citizens to increasingly become climate conscious with their strong pledges & commitments for carbon neutrality. That said, the tread towards a sustainable future continues to be slow paced and lacks momentum.
The journey to sustainability
Adopting climate best practices needs to become an inherent nature for all mankind. An indispensable quality of sorts that is taught from a young age so that it is simply human nature want to protect the planet at all times, for its own survival. The journey begins small but goes a long way in empowering climate positive practices. The world therefore needs a concrete plan to address this existential problem and adopt responsible practices that has sustainability and green at its core.
The most feasible pathway to adopt sustainability as a practice includes three key approaches:
1. Renewed thinking – The first step to a journey into a greener future begins with the shift in awareness and attitude to become climate positive. Climate sensitization is key to help larger communities understand their climate responsibilities.
2. Reduce energy consumption and associated emissions – The most important element to begin the journey to a sustainable future is the adoption of practices that deeply focus on conserving energy and on being energy efficient.
3. Replace energy sources with renewables – The focus should be to produce or procure energy from renewable sources. Even individual homes can adopt simple measures like solar panels, waste sorting and composting to reduce their carbon footprint. Businesses can reduce their existing energy sources with renewables like wind, solar, biomass, green hydrogen, hydro, tidal and geothermal, based on feasibility.
A high impact climate action plan
In the world of business, adopting climate best practices enable companies to not only enhance their brand value but also gain a competitive advantage in the market. Companies with a sustainable action plan can increase their productivity and make financial gains. A well-defined multi dimension action plan can therefore help companies to foster a sustainable long-term growth for business success.
Given that industries are the biggest contributors to a sustainable future, it is of foremost importance that businesses, especially those with high carbon emissions to implement a well-defined strategy plan that includes:
1. Plan a well-defined climate roadmap – A systematic approach for a long-term climate journey can positively contribute to reduce or offset emissions. This plan of action should position the climate risks and opportunities within the company’s governance structure to ensure a strategic measurable approach.
2. Specify the Climate goals – One of the most important steps in a climate journey is to set targets for future carbon emissions, taking account of national and international emission reduction commitments, such as the Paris Agreement. Companies should scientifically derive their individual CO2 reduction targets, and bring them into line with the objectives set out by their country.
3. Investments in carbon-offset measures – Carbon offset is the equivalent reduction or removal of GHG emissions to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. There are two types of markets for carbon offsets: Compliance Markets and Voluntary Markets. Compliance Markets are regulated by mandatory carbon reduction regimes, while Voluntary Markets enable businesses to offset their emissions outside a regulatory regime. Companies can buy carbon offsets in order to comply with mandatory and voluntary binding caps on the total amount of carbon dioxide they are allowed to emit per year.
4. Life Cycle Thinking – There is an opportunity at every stage of a business – to rethink, recycle, refuse, reduce, re-use, repair, re-gift and recover. One needs to be mindful of their consumption, their relationship with ‘things’, and their relationship with Earth.
5. Stakeholder education – Climate needs to be collective action with a company for effective results and it should be a life-long habit and not a one-time investment. Companies should therefore educate all their stakeholders especially their supply chain partners, customers, investors, board and employees on the importance of adopting sustainable practices. Sensitization drives should be organized to onboard every employee on their respective contribution to a sustainable tomorrow.
6. Evaluation and tracking – Companies should ensure regular tracking of their climate steps to evaluate the efficiency of their plans. Corrective measures should accordingly be planned to streamline the goals and measures taken.
Sustainability and ESG
ESG or in other words, – environmental, social and governance agenda has been witnessing an increasing importance. Sustainable practices go a long way in ensuring higher ESH scores for any and every business. A simple break down can help you understand how sustainability is important for higher ESG:
– Environmental, or ‘E’ in ESG, looks at the impact of resource consumption of any business on the environment like carbon footprint and waste water discharge, among other environmental impacting activities.
– ‘S’ or Social criteria looks at how business interacts with communities where it operates. It also looks at internal policies related to labour, diversity and inclusion policies, among others
– ‘G’ or Governance relates to internal practices and policies that lead to effective decision- making and legal compliance. ESG facilitates top-line growth in the long run, attracts talent, reduces costs, and forge a sense of trust amongst consumers.
I would like to leave you with a last thought that it is indeed time that each of us – individual and businesses alike become conscious of our climate responsibilities and act on it, for otherwise, the failure to do so, will soon undermine the very sustainability of life itself on the planet!
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.
Manish Dabkara is the CMD & CEO of EKI Energy Services Ltd., the World’s largest Carbon Credit Developer &Supplier. He founded EnKing International in the year 2008 with an objective to lead companies worldwide to a future of net-zero carbon emissions. With a deep passion to contribute towards the betterment of planet Earth at its heart, EnKing International offers strategic services and solutions to organizations for their carbon asset management -including carbon credit generation, supply and offsetting. Under Manish’s leadership, EKI Energy Services Ltd. has grown to become a catalyst for carbon offsets not only within India but globally and has supplied over 100 million offsets as of date.