The clock is ticking on for the start of COP27 — aka, the 27th United Nations Climate Change conference — in Egypt November 6. Hopes are high, but what tangible outcomes can we reasonably expect? 

Of the 193 countries that attended the conference in Glasgow last year, only one — Australia — has put forward a climate plan that will lead to actual greenhouse-gas emissions cuts. You read that right; just one. Eighteen other countries have submitted 

more ambitious targets, but that is as far it goes now they are past the deadline for doing so according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

The world is calling out for leadership and action on climate change and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics. That true leadership may have to come from board directors and senior business leaders, not politicians, if these risks and opportunities are to be properly addressed.

Get educated with our new power-packed ESG Lite program, or really master the topics in our premium ESG or climate-change Designation and Certificate programs. And don’t forget that Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, the top gun for COP27 in Egypt, is part of our upcoming Climate Program faculty! A few seats remain, so apply now.

  1. Digging for risks and opportunities. A new EY report has highlighted the areas that are top of mind for business executives in the mining and metals industry for the coming year. ESG challenges stay on top of the list, but geopolitical issues are now second with climate change right behind. Supply chain disruption, which has been seen around the world, is a new addition to the top 10. Looking more closely at ESG, water management, decarbonization and climate change were the top three priorities. The report lays out what’s needed in plain terms: “If companies think by 2050 net zero carbon will be the minimum expectation they will be mistaken. Differentiation will come to those that are net positive on all aspects of ESG. Miners need to go beyond policy and have a holistic approach to ESG to gain investor confidence and community trust.”
  2. Crunching the net zero numbers. The climate crisis has spurred many companies to positive change. A new Capgemini survey of more than 900 companies reveals that more than two-thirds (68%) have net zero targets. Indeed, 92% plan to achieve these goals by 2040. However, although most (85%) of the organizations surveyed  know the business value of emissions measurement and analytics, they are poorly equipped to capture and use emissions data. Data coverage for their scope 3 emissions, which makes up on average 65 to 95% of a company’s carbon footprint, is especially low. Capgemini surveyed senior executives from 900 organizations around the world that have set net zero targets for the report, Data for Net Zero: Why data is key to bridging the gap between net-zero ambition
  3. Fortune favours the green. A new report by Climate Impact Partners has lifted the lid on how the world’s largest companies — as listed in the Fortune Global 500 index —are preparing for climate change. There is good news: more than four in 10 (42%) of these companies have delivered a major strategic climate milestone (or will do by 2030), an 11% rise on the previous year. Almost two-thirds (63%) have also set 2050 targets for reductions in carbon emissions, up 12% on 2021. The report notes that 2030 goals have more weight than those for 2050, because only the former apply to the current leadership. There is one significant area for improvement: less than a third (31%) of Fortune Global 500 companies have any targets around Scope 3 emissions, despite those emissions making up 80% of those companies’ total carbon footprint. 
  4. Fossil fuel data. Want to know what could happen with all the as yet untapped oil, coal and gas beneath our feet? The Global Registry of Fossil Fuels is what you need. This mammoth data bank, launched last week, has information from more than 50,000 oil, gas and coal fields in 89 countries around the world, approximately 75% of global reserves. The Registry reveals that current reserves would generate 3.5 trillion tons of greenhouse gas emissions if used, which would be more than all of the carbon emissions produced since the Industrial Revolution and seven times the carbon budget for keeping the planet at a 1.5C rise in temperature. Carbon Tracker, a nonprofit think tank that examines the energy transition’s effect on financial markets, and the Global Energy Monitor, an organization that tracks energy projects around the world, created the Registry.
  5. Green investor opportunities. A new study has revealed that Southeast Asian countries have the opportunity to meet their growing energy demand through renewables and slash their energy-related carbon emissions by 75% by 2050. Renewable Energy Outlook for ASEAN: Towards a regional energy transition says that to achieve these bold opportunities, countries would need to treble their investments in renewables up to US $6 trillion over the 28 years, which in turn would spur major opportunities for investors in sectors such as biofuels, electromobility, energy efficiency, green hydrogen and transmission. This change could result in deep savings, as much as US $1.5 trillion, in health-care and environmental damage related costs. The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) published the report.

Mathew Loup is Competent Boards’ Director, Marketing & Communications. Follow Competent Boards on LinkedIn.

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