The broad theme of climate change and the need for a transition to a low (or no) carbon economy.

I must admit that I am no expert in the climate change field, but I can nevertheless give my point of view / insights:

  1. I do feel that this IS the number one issue of our time.  If mankind cannot get this right, all the other numerous efforts we do in the name of sustainability won’t matter.  Climate change, either directly or indirectly will be the cause that screws it all up.  Period.  Really.
  2. My group research project is addressing the following research question: How are companies aligning their corporate strategy and targets with the sustainable development goals?  I take some solace in the fact, that so far, of the companies that we have interviewed the most favoured SDG to address has been #13 – Climate Action.  So, if this is an indicator, it is hopeful.  It seems that many companies realize that prioritized action towards climate change is the main issue as well.  Indeed, many have told us that focusing on climate change is an enabler for other SDGs to be attained as well – good systems thinking going on there!
  3. Organisationally, my company does not leave a large carbon footprint in relation to other industries.  However, we can, we are, and we will continue to improve.  One of our largest issues is flying to work.  It is hard to cut down on this for customers, but internally we can and have increased our teleconferencing activities, and we do a carbon tracker for taking flying business trips, although its consistent usage by employees needs better enforcement ☹.  I think our best efforts are when we do work for customers, providing consultation and solutions for those seeking answers to their climate change problems.  For example, we have conducted a lot of studies, developed standards, and have run projects for carbon capture and storage in and for the oil and gas industry.
  4. I work in Indonesia, and the prominent message I perceive as pervasive in society is that this issue is also important, but Indonesia is in a full-fledged greenwashing state of mind.  Promotions left, right, and centre scream ‘Go green,’ but they seem to be screaming into a void or into a proposition that such screaming sells / markets product.  Disgusting.  Key economic drivers in Indonesian society from both the private or public sector could / should also be making much more significant contributions.  For example, the state oil company, Pertamina, has only taken baby steps to grab this bull by the horns, and fossil fuels is the name of the current game. The state electricity company, PLN, has no programs or strategy for major investments in renewables – wind, solar, tidal, and even geothermal (which is super abundant) is miniscule to date.  Government ministries do nothing to truly alleviate the issue either.  Religiously, every June, July, August the Sumatran and Kalimantan forest are slashed and burned to clear land for palm oil cultivation.  This has gone on ‘religiously’ for as long as I have been here, 30 years now…  Without any strategy or planning by the government to accommodate the alternative energy needs of Indonesians in the foreseeable future, society is being held ransom to having nothing in place when such infrastructure will be desperately needed.

So, I’ve painted a rather depressing picture.  Well, I don’t want to gloss it over – it’s all real.  I can only hope that leaders elsewhere in the world spur others to action; I do not see it happening on the radical scale that it needs to domestically in Indonesia – if Indonesia is to make a meaningful contribution to the planet.  I would appreciate any ideas, suggestions, provocations of thought for this scary picture!

5 thoughts on “The broad theme of climate change and the need for a transition to a low (or no) carbon economy.

  1. Hello The Stain’ Home 🙂

    Another interesting blog from you. Did I tell you that I always enjoy reading your blog?

    It is very interesting to hear about your group project on SDG and corporate strategy. Your blog made me do more research and read more about this. It really is unavoidable to pursue climate change and development goals at the same time. Their interrelatedness is so strong and that climate change has been included as part of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the issue was not addressed through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To me, it’s companies’ responsibility to show governance by making their stance about climate change clear from lobbying for climate change causes to joining meaningful pledge.
    Then what more can companies do?

    Though companies have been more active on this issue in the past few years; but we are not near the finish line just yet. As there are so many types of risks face businesses such as climate change policy risk, reputational risk and market risks. It is in business’ best interest to act fast to reduce this and seize opportunities such as new investments or new revenue streams. HSBC already has realized the potential of this field and has created new climate change indices that can be invested in through the bank (https://www.hsbcnet.com/gbm/attachments/products-services/trading-sales/structured-products/canada/climate2_index_bg.pdf). Further benefits are outlined in Citi’s report, which states that $2 trillion savings will be generated if we move towards a low-carbon economy (https://ir.citi.com/hsq32Jl1m4aIzicMqH8sBkPnbsqfnwy4Jgb1J2kIPYWIw5eM8yD3FY9VbGpK%2Baax).

    Moreover, there are many interrelated actions companies can take and are already taking to respond to this climate change issue.

    • Becoming net positive in CO2 emissions.
    • More sophisticated measurement systems and metrics are needed for businesses to be able to monitor, evaluate and report on the impacts of climate change at all levels of a company’s operations.
    • Climate-resilient supply chains are needed in terms of reducing emissions as well as implementing high levels of adaptation to possible future climate risks.
    • Innovative technology and processes will continue to be one of the crucial solutions to not just mitigate climate change effects, but even reverse them.
    • Good governance through companies’ clear stance about climate change.
    • Public-private partnership is one of the ways to bring together mutually beneficial partnerships between the private, public and voluntary sectors.

    And the list goes on… I can see that there are so many more things companies can do to help addressing this issue. It really is about when we will get started 🙂

    Cheers!

    Like

      1. Hi Eric,

        Commented, but not sure whether it went through. If it did, please delete this one. Really liked your blog and very happy to hear that you are doing your group paper on how companies can incorporate the SDGs into their strategies.

        I have started with my own “pet project” at work (and it is included in my performance agreement) to map the SGDs, the 6 capitals contained in the International Framework, South Africa’s King IV report (the leading authority on good governance) and the 10 principles of the UNGC.

        It is fascinating to see how the fundamental principles and concepts contained in all of these frameworks or reports blend and complement one another.

        We did the mapping and embarked on the interesting and insightful journey of explaining this to our operational colleagues. Most of them have traditionally focused on the financial and operational aspects of decisions etc.

        I want to be so bold as to say that we are turning a corner and that the shift towards integrated thinking is happening. A lot more conversations, presentations etc. need to take place, but since this is the most important thing anyone can do, there is no other alternative but to continue.

        Oh, and by the way, I am totally on your page that SDG13 is the most important and fundamental SDG.

        Would love to read your group paper.

        Cathie

        Like

      2. Cathie….
        I did get it, and THANKS!
        Will also get you a copy of our group paper once it’s finished.
        I think your mapping exercise is excellent and should definitely be done….. sounds like you’ll have to make a matrix-like template for that.

        Another interesting mapping will be to do the SDGs against the latest GRI requirements. GRI said they were going to do this, and perhaps it’s even ready– gotta recheck their website.

        Once all that is done, a key thing to do is then promote your mapping– upload to the Grindrod intranet portal, email broadcast it, have a few socialization sessions on how to use it for your employees, etc., otherwise it’ll just sit there, stuck in limbo.

        Would love to see it when it’s done- I’d be happy to QA/QC it before the final version is made.

        See you!

        Like

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