Beyond the obvious ethical reasons for working to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, here are some powerful arguments for why businesses should set science-based targets.
1. Secure Your License to Operate
According to statistics, those businesses furthest along in their sustainability efforts stand to win the greatest market share within the next decade. To prevent your business from being left behind, you need to do your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions long-term.
Setting science-based targets gives you a license to operate into the future, while helping to keep warming below 1.5 degrees C above preindustrial levels and thereby preventing the worst effects of global warming from taking hold.
2. Align Your Business With Rising Investment Trends
More and more investors identify a lack of environmental, social and governance (ESG) management as a serious business risk. During the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24), 415 investors with $32 trillion in assets demanded that governments move to address climate change. Large investment funds have already begun divesting from companies that rely too heavily on coal and other fossil fuels and companies that fail to take ESG issues into account.
Setting science-based targets and taking active steps to move toward renewable energy and greater circularity allows your business to protect itself from the risk of investors and other shareholders ending their financial support.
3. Reduce Costs and Drive Efficiency
Setting targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions frequently leads to cost savings because it forces your business to seek greater efficiencies in its operations and production. As governments impose more regulations and eventually enact other regulatory instruments, such as carbon taxes, companies that have already set science-based targets will be in a better position to thrive in a more controlled playing field.
Having a science-based target can also lead to cost reductions for organizations currently paying to voluntarily off-set their emissions.
4. Place Your Company at the Top
The 2018 STOXX Global Climate Change Leaders and the STOXX Global 1800 indices clearly show that companies that are actively fighting climate change consistently outperform other top-ranking businesses.
5. Unleash Innovation
Setting targets that are science-based allows you to discover creative solutions to the challenge of significantly reducing emissions. The in-depth analysis and focus required to set science-based targets can drive businesses to create new and unique products and services and deliver better, more useful solutions for their customers, ultimately combining sustainability and profitable innovation.
6. Become a Life-cycle Thinker
The accurate assessment of environmental impacts necessary for setting science-based targets requires a systems approach. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Thinking about your company and its impact on the environment in a holistic way helps you understand the complexity and interconnectivity within your value chain, opening opportunities for collaboration and business transformation.
7. Improve Business Strategy
Setting science-based targets is inescapably interwoven with the development of your future business. Accurate, scientifically assessed data creates a solid foundation for reconsidering the direction you are heading.
Rethinking what it means to produce value in a future with zero emissions can be strategically transformative for your operations, products, services and supply chain.
8. Secure Future Technologies
When you first set an ambitious science-based target, it may seem that your business has an insurmountable task before it. But you trigger greater focus when you set a goal. Even if the technological capacity to achieve your science-based target does not currently exist, simply setting a goal increases the likelihood of identifying a real solution.
If your target is known throughout your organization, the number of people actively seeking solutions multiplies.
Improve Your Brand
9. Legitimize Your Environmental Efforts
The commitment to and approval of your science-based target provides transparency for your company and legitimizes your brand with greater authenticity. In light of the necessary global transformation, it’s indispensable for your brand to ride the momentum toward building and securing your company’s low emissions future.
10. Attract and Retain Employees
According to recent studies, youth consciousness is already affecting the trend toward greater sustainability. This year, millennials will overtake baby boomers as the largest generation. Climate change is the No. 1 issue of concern for millennials—they want to know that they are working for a company they can believe in.
Setting science-based targets is a powerful way to communicate the legitimacy of your brand to current and potential co-workers and retain their loyalty.