Business strategies for climate
Growth and decarbonisation
Studies published in 2014, whether by IPCC(1) scientists or New Climate Economy economists, showed that it is till possible to combat climate change without having to give up on economic growth and human development. This applies both to emerging countries which do not want to give up on their promised growth and to developed countries that fear having to surrender their lifestyles.
Positioning ourselves on a greenhouse gas emission trajectory enabling us to limit global warming to 2°C by the end of this century nonetheless requires a far-reaching and immediate response coordinated by all economic and political stakeholders.
Companies know that they have a major role to play in dealing with the climate challenge. They are ready to change direction, as the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged them to do in September 2014. Companies of all sizes engaged in this process innovate and develop technological, organisational and financial solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change. They are adjusting their strategies and economic models in response to these new challenges. It is these solutions that are presented in this publication “Business strategies for climate”.
The solutions are everywhere
All sectors of the economy are concerned; companies in all sectors can take a forward-looking approach to the changes caused by climate change and mobilise their resources to provide effective responses in line with the issues at stake.
Global economic growth is resulting in a huge increase in the demand for mobility and transport. Companies are working on ways to improve vehicles, develop engines that are less fossil-fuel dependent, and on finding new ways for people to move around and to transport goods. The challenge is considerable: it will involve working with the growing need for transport while at the same time massively reducing the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Cities are home to an ever-increasing number of people wanting to enjoy an ever-higher level of comfort, which leads to a notable increase in the building sector’s energy consumption and GHG(2) emissions. The required changes are many, both for the existing building stock which requires major renovation and for new buildings which are already incorporating stringent energy performance standards.
Energy systems are at the heart of the economic development of regions and countries. But the choice of the world’s energy mix has a significant effect on the future of the planet climate. New sources of energy are appearing or becoming profitable, new strategies are contributing to the sector’s transition to more efficient production modes that emit less greenhouse gas.
Land use is coming under increasing pressure as it must meet the needs of the world’s population for food, energy and housing. But land use outside built-up areas is becoming increasingly rationalised: forestry, biomass, changing food supply and less carbon-emitting uses of farming land are all solutions that contribute to combating climate change.
The emissions by financial stakeholders are very low. But as the funders of the world’s economy, they have a central role to play in the transition towards a low-carbon economy. Factoring climate change increasingly into investment decisions and the risks it places on assets are beginning to inform the strategies adopted by the sector’s companies.