Climate Change and the Role of Science Based Targets

BITCI News - Environment - Nov 30, 2020

AUTHOR: Nick Reynolds, CSR & Environment Adviser

‘Climate change is our generations greatest challenge to life as we know it and, in a way, our very existence.’
We have all heard a version of this statement being said over and over again, from environmental scientists and activists, politicians, to the Pope himself. Scientifically though it is proven that we are in the midst of the next great extinction and this time the main culprit is you and me. Human beings have completely taken over nearly every habitable space on this planet, exploiting it and altering it to suit our every needs and desires.

Only recently have we started to really ask the question about the consequences that our actions are having on the World and its priceless ecosystems that we all rely so heavily on.
I sit back sometimes and think how the world has changed significantly over the last couple decades. I ask myself what type of a world we will be handing over to those generations to come and the challenges that they will have to deal with. To be honest, I can’t begin to truly understand what that would look like, but one thing is for sure, it won’t resemble anything of what we have today.

Sir David Attenborough’s new documentary, ‘A Life on Our Planet’, has managed to do something truly remarkable, to humanize the issue of the environmental destruction taking place on our planet and projecting the future instore for humanity. Current projections do not paint a pretty picture with carbon emissions still rising and natural habitats still be destroyed all over the world.
But, like Sir Attenborough ended on, it is not all lost and we still have a fighting chance to create a world where nature and humanity thrives. Change is required at levels that we have not seen before, but one good thing, and there aren’t many, that the recent Covid-19 pandemic has showed us, is that human beings can adapt and change at rates we never thought possible. Businesses across the world have shown their resilience in the face of countless challenges across their workforce and supply chains to keep operating and finding new ways to work.

To overcome climate change, we need to start seeing this level and rate of change occurring in all areas of our lives. We need Governments around the world to put the structures in place to direct and support the shift to a low carbon economy, through regulations and incentives. Businesses need to set more ambitious carbon reduction targets and adapt to the risks of a more unpredictable world where climate events are intensifying and being seen more frequently than ever before. You and I have a role to play to, as the size of the climate challenge needs us all on board. We need to be more aware of our actions and how we can support more sustainable livelihoods, through how we eat, what we purchase and who we vote for.

Businesses around the world are being seen to be stepping up and aligning their carbon reduction efforts with the Paris Agreement, to reduce global warming to well below 2˚C. Over 1000 Global companies, with value chains that expand across the globe, have already committed to setting a Science-Based Target ‘SBT’.

To be in a position to set these types of targets, businesses need to continue to measure their carbon and environmental impacts. They need to work with their suppliers, competitors, and peers to develop new initiatives and approaches to decarbonising supply chains and develop the action plans of tomorrow, as we move towards a low carbon economy.
Business will play a key role in our fight against climate change, as they develop greener and more sustainable services and products. In turn, this will help change mindsets towards a more sustainable approach in how we live our lives.

If you are a business that does not yet understand what your carbon impacts are across your value chain, we urge you to start these conversations internally. BITCIs Report, Progressing Towards Science Based Targets, can support you on this journey, as you start to develop the structures to measure and better understand your carbon and environmental impacts.
To steal a phrase that I heard from Paul Polman (former CEO of Unilever), during a recent interview, ‘We need to treasure what we measure’. This is key to allowing us to make more informed decisions as we invest in a more sustainable future and work towards achieving a pathway to net-zero.

At BITCI we will continue to work with Irish Business through the Low Carbon Pledge, where businesses commit to setting a SBT by 2024. If you are a Business that wants to take climate action seriously, we urge you to sign-up to the Low Carbon Pledge and be a part of the movement towards making Ireland the most sustainable place to do business.

What are science based targets?

If you are interested in finding out more about how we can support your decarbonisation journey, please contact:

Trish McNamara

Membership Executive


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