26 May 2009
The World Business Summit on Climate Change ended on a rather high note today, when members of the Copenhagen Climate Council presented the Copenhagen Call to Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and to Yvo de Boer of the UNFCCC.
The Call identifies six steps seen as imperative to build a firm foundation for a sustainable economic future:
- Agreement on a science-based greenhouse gas stabilization path with 2020 and 2050 emissions reduction targets that will achieve it;
- Effective measurement, reporting and verification of emissions performance by business;
- Incentives for a dramatic increase in financing low emissions technologies;
- Deployment of existing low-emissions technologies and the development of new ones;
- Funds to make communities more resilient and able to adapt to the effects of climate change, and
- Means to finance forest protection.
Full Copenhagen Call here. Press release here.
26 May 2009
On Sunday, at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen, the Secretary-General launched the Caring for Climate Series, a number of new reports and studies on role of business, investors and governments in tackling climate change. Here is a listing:
- Best Practices and Policy Frameworks: the 2009 Survey of Caring for Climate Signatories. By GlobeScan.
- Energy Efficiency and Low Carbon Intensity: Are We Making Progress? By Yale University, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Centre for Business and the Environment at Yale
- Change is Coming: A Framework for Climate Change – A Defining Issue of the 21st Century. By Goldman Sachs.
- Investor Leadership on Climate Change: An Analysis of the Investment Community’s Role and Snapshot of Recent Investor Activity. By the Principles for Responsible Investment.
- Building a Green Recovery. By HSBC.
- Carbon Markets – the Simple Facts. By Mission Climat of Caisse des Dépots.
All reports can be downloaded here.
24 May 2009
An official version of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s opening remarks at the World Business Summit on Climate Change have been posted on the Global Compact Website.
24 May 2009
It’s been quiet on this blog for a few days. We are now at the opening session of the World Business Summit in Climate Change. Follow the live webcast here. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has just concluded his opening speech. A very powerful call to action, encouraging businesses to lobby ”vigorously and relentlessly for a successful outcome in Copenhagen in December”. And: “Transformation is possible.” For key statements, check out our live twitter feed of the speech. WBSCC feed here.
The full official record of the Secretary-General’s speech should be available at the UN News Centre later today.
Next up: Al Gore.
20 May 2009
This is just another reminder of the upcoming World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen (24-26 May). Time permitting, we will be doing some live-blogging and twittering (tweeting? twitting?). With now over 600 participants, this promises to be the key business event on the road to COP15. We’ll keep you posted.
19 May 2009
The Yale Project on Climate Change and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication have released Global Warming’s Six Americas: An Audience Segmentation Analysis, the results of a comprehensive survey of climate change perceptions in the US. Key findings:
The Alarmed (18%) are fully convinced of the reality and seriousness of climate change and are already taking individual, consumer, and political action to address it. The Concerned (33%) – the largest of the six Americas – are also convinced that global warming is happening and a serious problem, but have not yet engaged the issue personally. Three other Americas – the Cautious (19%), the Disengaged (12%) and the Doubtful (11%) – represent different stages of understanding and acceptance of the problem, and none are actively involved. The final America – the Dismissive (7%) – are very sure it is not happening and are actively involved as opponents of a national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It would be interesting to see what these figures – applying the same methodology – look like for other countries, including emerging and developing economies.
19 May 2009
UK apparel wholesaler Continental has just completed a comprehensive exercise to determine the carbon footprint of its cotton clothing. The methodology used was British Standards’ PAS 2005:2008.
Here’s what they found for a small charcoal women’s short-sleeve T-shirt with a colour print. The values refer to kg of CO2e (total carbondioxide and other GHGs) per lifecycle:
It’s probably not a surprise that consumer use leads the pack here, particularly tumble drying and ironing, which – if avoided – could cut the total by another 37 percent. The simple message is, of course, one about sustainable consumption patterns – which is still often overlooked.
The one issue I see is the standard lifecycle definition. The executive summary speaks of 25 washing cycles. Is that cutting it too short? My oldest T-shirt (which I still wear occasionally) is 18 years old. Imagine that footprint!
(Hat tip: Maya Forstater)
18 May 2009
Wohoo! Folks over at Global Compact Critics blog about a research paper submitted in early 2007 on the contribution of the UN Global Compact to CSR strategies in the telecommunications industry (published in a recent edition of the Journal of Business Ethics). While we are always supportive of CSR research, the logistics of publishing in peer-reviewed journals on the fast-evolving CSR discipline often creates a disconnect between data at the time of collection and the status of initiatives today (for instance, the number of GC business participants now stands at 5,100, compared to the 2,900 mentioned in the paper).
Read the rest of this entry »
18 May 2009
In the March/April issue of Environment Magazine, American University’s Matthew Nisbet discusses the challenge of communicating climate change, particularly as it relates to current perceptions in the US. While Nisbet’s initial policy outlook is debatable, his take on the communications side of things (and the conclusions to be drawn) is a very interesting read. For the bigger picture on the (somewhat contentious) framing issue, it is also worth revisiting Gavin Schmidt’s post on realclimate.org (including some of the comments).
On a related note, it is time to draw some attention to the upcoming World Business Summit on Climate Change, where the economic development frame discussed by Nisbet will play a rather significant role.
16 May 2009
For Ethical Corporation, Helina Ward discusses the role of governments in the ongoing ISO 26000 process. Important point:
ISO’s brand recognition and credibility give it potential to make a positive contribution to social responsibility. ISO standards are voluntary, but they frequently become benchmarks for good practice among businesses. They are often referenced in supply chain requirements. And many are absorbed into national regulations and standards.
Done well, ISO 26000 could drive competition among organisations for better social responsibility performance. Done badly, it could inadvertently further the global squeeze on small producers unable to meet the aspirations of its guidance.
As for the small producers mentioned above, check out the IISD’s 2008 study on the materiality of ISO 26000 to SMEs.
15 May 2009
The Economist weighs in on the debate about the future of CSR in times of recession.
There is one other important reason for thinking that companies will maintain their commitments to sustainability through the downturn and beyond: the need to restore confidence in business. The financial crisis was triggered by a bout of corporate social irresponsibility on a massive scale that has tarnished the reputations of even the bluest of blue-chip companies. Now corporate leaders have a chance to show that they are not just motivated by short-termism after all.
This is a point the Global Compact has been making for quite some time. If there has ever been a time to recognize the strategic relevance of CSR, that time is now.
14 May 2009
Ethical Corporation’s Rajesh Chhabara takes a closer look at the growing diversity of voluntary initiatives and industry codes:
The explosion in voluntary initiatives and codes of conduct for sustainability in the past 10 years has increased global awareness of corporate responsibility. But concerns have been raised about the effectiveness, motives, credibility and transparency of many initiatives. Add to this thousands of codes of conduct introduced by companies themselves and the sheer number of sustainability clubs open to modern business is mind-boggling.
One of the bigger issues coming out of this seems to be the growing confusion among those that seek to make decisions on the basis of reliable information, such as procurement officers or, increasingly, consumers. It brings to mind a discussion with a toy industry executive who repeatedly demanded: “We need a code of codes!”
13 May 2009
Marc Gunther has posted a new piece on supply chain transparency (traceability), highlighting Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles, a fascinating multimedia documentation of the company’s complex global supply chain. (For the record, Patagonia is not (yet) a Global Compact participant.) For more background on this particular effort, read Fast Company’s article from March 2008.
Note: The Global Compact’s most recent Annual Review identifies supply chain management as one of the more serious implementation challenges for corporate participants.
11 May 2009
Researchers at Harvard Business School make the case.