Finance Monthly - May 2022

Climate crisis: a year in review When we reflect on the year just gone by, it remains clear that the world is still not taking the steps it needs to prevent and mitigate climate change. The worrying symptoms of the crisis are being felt across the world, from torrential rainfall in Malaysia to wildfires ravaging the mountains of Greece. The evidence is incontrovertible. Despite the devastation caused by climate change, political and business leaders have been working to turn the tide on the crisis. The three reports released by the IPCC throughout 2021 and into 2022 have all been clear - we all must play a part in tackling the crisis. Just recently, the IPCC released their starkest warning yet, which suggested that we were reaching a point of no return and that if we are to stave off the worst effects of climate change, we would need to significantly strengthen existing targets. 2021 was a big year for climate action, which is the result of an established trend in which climate change has become part of the public consciousness. Each year more people are recognising the devastating effects of climate change – according to a study in the Lancet, for example, more than 60% of young people are ‘extremely concerned about climate change’. Alongside an increase in a public outcry for climate change, 2021’s longanticipated COP26 summit also struck a chord with the public – with commitments made by world leaders being criticised for not going far enough. However, it would be remiss to ignore the important steps international leaders made to help achieve our shared objective of keeping the planet’s warming below 1.5C. For example, 153 countries strengthened existing or made new emissions targets; 137 countries pledged to end deforestation by 2030, and more than 100 countries have committed to reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030. While further action is needed, the work achieved in Glasgow has kept the 1.5C goal alive. Encouraging corporate decarbonisation: time to change tactics? Now that political leaders have come together to double down on decarbonisation targets, the time has come for public authorities to design bold policies to tackle climate change. At the same time, businesses have a crucial role to play in decarbonising as fast as possible to prevent global warming and stay relevant. Many companies are already rising to the challenge. For example, in March of 2021, 30 of the UK’s biggest companies signed up to the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and many have been making good on their commitments. For example, both BT and Vodafone reached their goal of powering 100% of their UK network by renewable sources, while AstraZeneca more than halved their greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1 and 2). However, while more than 1,000 companies, including 82 Global Fortune 500 companies, have announced Net Zero targets, committing to ambitious goals is far from enough to accomplish a meaningful sustainability transformation and a significant reduction in global emissions. There is great momentum in setting targets but achieving Net Zero implies a transformation journey far beyond the incremental change most companies are accustomed to. Engie Impact’s own research shows that while several companies have set goals, few have proposed a detailed strategy Ea r t h Da y 2022 14 Finance Monthly.

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy Mjk3Mzkz