COP24: Leading companies demonstrate climate action, call for policy ambitionWe Mean Business coalition
At COP24, leading companies are demonstrating their commitment and action on climate change, through the Talanoa Dialogue. A core part of the negotiations this year, the Talanoa Dialogue allows businesses to share stories on how they are innovating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and moving to more sustainable business models.
These stories of success and overcoming challenges are helping to give policy makers the confidence they need to enhance ambition at the government level, to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if the world is to keep on track in limiting global average temperature rise to within 1.5°C it will demand “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.
Achieving the 1.5°C target would mean that emissions of CO2 will have to be reduced by 45% by 2030. It is something that many companies are confident can be done, especially if the right policy frameworks are in place to incentivise positive action on climate change.
Here, four companies that are demonstrating bold climate ambition explain what they’d like to see from policymakers to support their efforts.
BT: Policy reinforcements needed
UK telecommunications giant BT Group came away from the 2015 Paris climate talks knowing that the best way to play its part in delivering on the global targets was to set an ambitious science-based target.
The following year, BT achieved its original target to reduce carbon emissions intensity by 80% on 1996/97 levels four years early and saved £220 million through driving efficiencies in its networks. The company is now committed to decarbonize another 87% by 2030, against a 2016/17 baseline.
This week BT also committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles with EV100, led by The Climate Group. As part of this commitment, BT will transition its fleet of some 34,000 vehicles – ranging from cars to heavy goods vehicles – to low-emission vehicles. BT is also committed to 100% renewable electricity, through RE100, which is led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.
“What’s really helpful for business is when policymakers reinforce what we are trying to do,” says Gabrielle Giner, Head of Environmental Sustainability at BT. “We know that we need to introduce electric vehicles to our fleet. So when the government makes positive announcements and invests in electric vehicles, that’s really helpful for us.”
“It’s the same thing when it comes to looking at a 1.5°C scenario and what that would look like. To see policymakers encouraging that is really helpful.”
Carrots better than sticks, says IKEA
IKEA Group has set the ambitious goal of becoming a fully circular business by 2030, in addition to its bold science-based target, commitment to 100% renewable electricity with RE100 and the commitment to accelerate electric vehicles with EV100.
“There are two elements to what policymakers can do – one is the bans and taxation, the other is incentives. We recommend the incentive path because we believe that is the faster way to create change,” says Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group.
The Swedish furniture and homewares business has invested €1.7 billion in renewable energy globally since 2009 and now owns and operates more wind turbines than stores. By 2020, the company will generate more renewable energy than it consumes in its operations.
And Brodin says that policy incentives will help the business meet its climate targets.
“Take electric vehicles, for example. The cities that have incentive programs help us and our partners to dare to take investments upfront,” he adds.
Help us to make use of waste for fuel, says Dalmia
Dalmia Cement, one of India’s leading cement companies, has set a bold goal to be carbon negative by 2040. It is currently on course to meet its 2030 ambition to increase its renewable energy consumption percentage fourfold, compared to 2015 levels. The cement producer is also committed to 100% renewable electricity with RE100, and to doubling energy productivity with EP100, also led by The Climate Group.
One of the major challenges for the cement industry, particularly in India and other developing countries, is how to replace fossil fuel-based energy generation.
“One of the easiest ways is to use various types of waste material, including biomass as a substitute for fossil fuels,” says Mahendra Singhi, the company’s CEO. “But a huge initiative is required from the government to facilitate the availability of such waste for the cement industry.”
Right now there is no ‘polluter pays’ policy in India – something Singhi believes would help support Dalmia in meeting its goals. The company is only using about 6% substitute waste-derived fuel. “But if government policies focus on making polluters pay, we can go to 25-30%.
“We are also making a commitment that we would be enhancing the usage of plastic waste, which is a big nuisance everywhere.”
Help create level playing field for renewables, says Levi Strauss
For leading clothing producer Levi Strauss and Company, policymakers must continue to make it easier for companies to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency.
The company has committed to a 2025 science-based target. It will reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions in owned and operated facilities globally by 90% and reduce by 40% emissions coming from its supply chain.
“What we’re looking for from policymakers is policies that are going to incentivise us to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy – and make renewables a level playing field with fossil fuels. That’s all we need and will invest in,” says Michael Kobori, Vice President of Sustainability.