We’re already seeing the effects of human-caused climate change throughout every aspect of the world we live in – the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic is literally gone, heat waves have become stronger and more intense, and people are no longer able to grow or find enough food, among other things. Global temperatures will continue to rise for many decades as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, most of which stem from companies, so individual efforts can’t solve the problem. 

Corporations make everything we consume and throw away, from toys to clothing, and they can help address global warming by implementing viable strategies to conserve natural resources, boost social well-being, and provide hope for a better future. The good news is that most companies are progressing in reducing carbon emissions to a reasonable number of residual emissions (from aviation, agriculture, and heavy industries) so they can be absorbed and durably stocked by nature. There’s been no real progress in agriculture, land use, and waste, though. 

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As significant contributors to climate change, roughly half of the UK’s most prominent organisations have pledged to reduce their businesses’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, representing a fundamental shift in the economy that paves the way to a greener future. Operating in a world where people breathe polluted air because heat-trapping gases are abundant in the atmosphere, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, some C-level executives are becoming proactive based on their own beliefs. 

A Climate Plan Is a Company’s Roadmap for Aligning with Decarbonization Targets  

Roughly 50% of UK businesses have a structured plan to measure, track, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adopt climate adaptation measures, i.e., a systematic and structured approach to making decisions. It’s a linear plan that requires the organisation and its stakeholders to work together to expedite emissions reductions and become leaders in innovation. Developing new technologies, products, and services that address global warming can give an edge over the competition and open up new market opportunities. 

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Companies face increasing pressure to act on climate change from consumers and clients who are very or extremely concerned about the environment. Gen Zers are the ones who primarily influence the conversation, so don’t be tricked into believing headlines that say young people care more about price than sustainability when making buying decisions. To meet the growing demand for action, enterprises must work harder to foresee changes in public opinion and make their organisations more resilient to risk. Waste management & recycling in retail is a cornerstone for enterprises seeking to align their operations with environmental stewardship and economic prudence principles. 

In June 2019, the UK government vowed to bring all carbon emissions to zero by 2050, which has become the main framework for climate action in the past couple of years. The fact is, governments worldwide are progressively implementing strict environmental regulations that require change across all sectors because they understand the seriousness of the depletion of natural resources and global warming. For example, the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive requires all listed companies to reveal their transition plans for climate change mitigation. 

Regrettably, shifting political winds are threatening the green transition, and Britain could fall off track to meet its legally binding decarbonisation targets due to political failure, so businesses and communities must join forces to address global warming and the cost-of-living crisis. Goals without actions are meaningless, so think about where you want to be and how you’ll get there; many organisations are ramping up their efforts in anticipation of stronger laws and preventing backlash from savvy shoppers. 

Does Every Company Need a Climate Plan? The Simple Answer Is Yes 

A climate plan can help you temper and adapt to rapid environmental changes, which vary on a case-by-case basis. Human-caused climate change worsened the apparently incessant rain last year in the UK and Ireland, as warmer air can hold more water vapour, and we can expect a wetter, damper, and mouldier future. Back on topic, your actions affect what others do to address climate change – choices are impactful, and, of course, your example on how to lower carbon emissions quickly can be copied. 

At a minimum, a climate plan includes: 

  • An inventory of existing emissions: Identify the sources of your company’s emissions (your activity data) to understand your contribution to global warming. Ex: consider the electricity or fuel you use to power your office/stores/facilities. 
  • Waste reduction models: Create scenarios and assess the potential impact of the actions that can help you offset your carbon footprint. Recycling, for instance, mitigates greenhouse gas emissions from extracting or mining virgin materials. 
  • Financing details: Measure the value of your sustainability initiatives and engage stakeholders in implementing and evaluating your efforts. It costs to be sustainable, and you can’t pass the cost onto consumers. 
  • Goals/targets for reaching carbon neutrality: Achieving absolute zero waste is a challenge, even if success has been demonstrated. Be clear about what you’re going to accomplish – aka set goals. 
  • Action evaluation: Measure the ROI of your efforts, such as implemented changes, community/business partnerships, and so on. From now on, you’ll have to enhance your sustainability efforts. 

Indeed, government and individual actions are critical to address long-term shifts in temperature and climate patterns, but corporations, with their immense influence and power in today’s world, play the most important role

Wrapping It Up 

Many companies in the UK have set greenhouse gas reduction targets, which allows them to compete more effectively within their chosen industries and help the economy become the most climate-ready one. Needless to say, they have a lot of work to do to address the climate emergency – measuring and reporting emissions is a good place to start. You, too, must ensure the accuracy of your reporting if you want to build trust and strengthen accountability, so provide good-quality, long-term data.  

Not just customers and clients are putting pressure on retailers to act on climate change. Investors, suppliers, and employees with a strong environmental awareness are pressing corporations for more aggressive action, so have a solid plan in place.