Not on my watch ........
Posted on 21st July 2020 at 11:00
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated our susceptibility to natural forces – and how urgently we must capitalise on this new appreciation for the fragility of our position on this earth. Before lockdown, the recognition that we need to radically reduce carbon emissions within 10 years was a message being broadcast from across the political spectrum. We already know that more than one-fifth of all humans live in regions that have seen temperatures greater than 1.5 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels in at least one season. We also know that climate change disproportionately affects the underprivileged and poor. And with the shocking news published only this week that polar bears could be wiped out by the end of this century - we have no choice but to act. This beautiful, iconic species – the "poster child of climate change", as Dr Peter Molnar, lead author of the research paper published in Nature calls them – will effectively be starved to extinction due to global warming if we don’t ramp up our efforts dramatically.
And the driving force for this potentially devastating loss is directly due to our failure to cut carbon emissions. We have known about this for too long. We can no longer justify any more prevaricating and refusing to change our actions. Businesses, especially the high polluting, high carbon-emitting sectors have got to get their respective acts together and fire up their approach to carbon and greenhouse gas reduction with immediate effect. But all organisations – private, public, NGO, not-for-profit – need to urgently review their activities and work out how they can effect this change. They need to set ambitious targets, develop strategies with operating processes enabling them to hit them, and then having achieved those goals set them again.
One of the key levers to successfully putting this in motion is to firstly capture the climate data, and then translate it into decision-useful information that can be acted upon, and – this is vital – report it and disclose it publicly so that the world can see what progress is being made. The approach developed by the TCFD – the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures – has been designed for this purpose.
It provides a framework for assessing the risks an organisation faces from climate change and a methodology for disclosing the information in mainstream annual reports and financial filings. It ensures robust risk management and governance processes, including board oversight of climate-related issues and linking board and management remuneration to carbon-related performance metrics.
We are at a crossroads. The global pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to re-build our society and economy for a healthier more sustainable future. Scientific consensus gives us 10 years to address the worst effects of climate change – we do have the opportunity to fix the climate crisis before it's too late. But we simply cannot wait to start this process a moment longer. Surely not on our watch?
At JS Global, together with partner company Zero Carbon Finance, our TCFD Board and Management Briefings can kick-start your understanding of the issues and empower you to bring process to your climate change reporting.
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