Earth Day took place last week, so it’s not too surprising that sustainability has been all over the news, including several exciting Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-related developments:
- Forty world leaders met last week at the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, later this year to coordinate efforts on reducing emissions and transitioning to net zero among other key initiatives.
- Microsoft launched the #Buildfor2030 campaign on Earth Day, and Sphera was one of the featured companies in it. Inspired by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, #Buildfor2030 focuses on highlighting solutions and services that are driving positive impact and contributing to a more inclusive economy.
- Apple became the first Fortune 500 publicly traded company to push for mandatory climate change disclosures.
- Thailand moved closer to finishing its massive hydro-solar project—containing 144,000-plus solar panels—in a reservoir in the eastern part of the country with plans to do the same at eight more dams in the next 16 years to help generate 2,725 megawatts. For perspective, a 2-megawatt wind turbine is said to be able to power about 400 homes.
- Three of the largest investment firms in the world, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and Bank of America, respectively, announced they were committing a combined $4.5 trillion in the next 10 years to tackle climate change and toward sustainable development over the next decade.
It’s great to see sustainability getting so much attention—including an Earth Day: The Musical event on Facebook—but as we wrote in our Earth Day Spark article, Earth Day should be every day. As companies and people return to a sense of normalcy after dealing with the pandemic for over a year, the stakes couldn’t be higher. In fact, the International Energy Agency predicts this year we will see the second-largest annual increase in CO2 emissions ever recorded.
As I wrote last month, with consumers, businesses and the investment community watching, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance is more important than ever. Through data, software and consulting, Sphera helps clients meet their performance objectives. Sphera’s comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment database helps organizations make better life cycle-related decisions while Corporate Sustainability software helps companies streamline their sustainability management and reporting. And to help companies make the best ESG decisions, Sphera’s expert consultants can help create a custom roadmap for ESG performance success.
For example, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. worked with Sphera to set Science Based Targets. By doing so, the mobility products and farm solutions provider based in India was able to improve its environmental performance and gain transparency for internal and external stakeholders. Two years ago, the company even was named to the CDP Climate Change Rising Star list, and last year the company achieved Bronze Class in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Global Sustainability Yearbook.
When Sphera surveyed sustainability leaders last year, what we found is that only 44% of respondents considered their organizations “leaders” in sustainability maturity. Additionally, a third (34%) said they considered their organizations “optimized” for sustainability. The rest of the respondents (26%) said they were either “compliant” or “efficient” in terms of sustainability maturity. We must do better if we are going to meet the International Panel on Climate Change guidelines of limiting global warming to no more than an additional 1.5˚C (2.7˚F) above preindustrial levels by 2050.
Another Earth Day has come and gone, but has it brought real change for you and your organization in terms of ESG performance? Only you can answer that.