THE MOMENTUM BEHIND SCIENCE-BASED TARGETS IS UNSTOPPABLEWe Mean Business
The debate about climate science is over. Business is now calling for governments to use long-term, science-based targets as part of their COP21 negotiations. The recent China-US deal came up for discussion as an example of how targets are not seen as a brake on growth but as a means to accelerate investment and innovation, paving the way toward a low carbon future.
The New Climate Economy report provides a roadmap for that low carbon future, a future that supports economic growth and tackles climate change at the same time. As Felipe Calderón, former President of Mexico and member of The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, explained at a press event, there will be roughly $90 trillion of infrastructure investment projects over the next 15 years. If those projects were low carbon investments, only $4 trillion of additional funds would be needed—a cost that would be offset by lower operating costs over that time.
Defined targets also provide greater clarity to markets and investors on the speed and direction of change, which will drive more companies to get involved. Targets are diverse and came across on multiple fronts, echoing the “we manage what we measure” aphorism. Examples include the RE100 campaign that aims to enlist 100 of the world’s biggest companies to use 100% renewable energy, the Tropical Forest Alliance’s target of 100% deforestation-free supply chains or IKEA’s 100% waste reduction program. As Steve Howard, IKEA’s Chief Sustainability Officer, summed it up, “100% targets are easier to measure against and easier to focus on.”
The message is also getting out that many businesses are not just cutting emissions but, in doing so, they are generating financial returns, with some corporate low carbon programs reporting internal return rates of 20% and more. Read more in The Climate Has Changed report.
In India, leading companies are already setting targets of 5%-plus reductions per year, something their CEOs would like to see spread across all sectors and to smaller companies. Read more in the Better Business in India Briefing.