Coinciding with the recent 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the 12th Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF) in Glasgow, Scotland.
At this year’s forum, I had the pleasure of joining four other esteemed sustainability panelists on a session titled, “Mainstreaming Climate Innovations for Net Zero Transitions.” It was exciting to hear all the great ideas that emerged from this insightful panel.
What stood out to me most was the importance of data to drive innovation and the need for a global, objective standard around carbon accounting. We believe predictive analytics are the wave of the future and will help the right people get the right information to make the right decisions regarding carbon reduction.
We also heard the quote at the event that greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting “is not rocket science,” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t complex. We need a clear regulatory framework to speed up actions to report on GHG emissions, including all scopes. There are forthcoming European Union regulations that will help this, but we need a global standard.
When it comes to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) objectives, it’s not just investors who are demanding this information. It’s consumers and supply chain partners alike who want to know how organizations are handling their sustainability initiatives and, more importantly, what they intend to do to address problem areas. They want to hear about organizations’ journeys toward introducing and advancing carbon accounting and accelerating net zero emission initiatives.
A new era of transparency has emerged, but unfortunately few companies are prepared for this effort. Sphera’s recent Sustainability Survey Report found that only 38% of businesses publicly communicate their sustainability performance, and less than a third of respondents (29%) said their organization has set and communicated their sustainability targets. Just 16% of the respondents said their companies have set science-based targets. If we want to change the road we’re on, we must do much better than that. When Mahindra & Mahindra, a mobility products and farm solution company, committed to setting science-based targets, it saw a 47% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions and set a target of a 30% reduction in Scope 3 emissions by 2033.
A recent PwC survey found that 83% of consumers think companies should be actively shaping ESG best practices and 86% of employees says they prefer to work for a company that cares about the issues that they do. Consumers speak with their wallets, and employees speak with their feet. In other words, ESG initiatives are more than just a nice thing to do; they have a real and lasting effect on an organization’s bottom line performance as well.
We know the path to creating a safer, more sustainable and productive world starts with software, data and expert insights We need to travel that path together if we hope to create the world we want for us and future generations. We can shape the world we want, but we must start now.