What is COP26 and why should businesses care?

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What is COP26?

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference which will be held on 31st October- 12th November in Glasgow this year, co-hosted by the UK and Italy. The conference aims to unite parties, climate change experts and campaigners to accelerate climate change action set by the Paris Agreement. The conference will include an assessment of progress from initial targets set by the Paris Agreement in 2015 and establishing new targets for the upcoming five years.

Why is COP26 important?

The planet is undeniably getting hotter which means we need to limit global warming to reduce the irreversible effects of climate change. Whilst countries agreed to try to limit global warming to below 2c, preferably 1.5c at the Paris Agreement, over the past five years there has been increasingly more evidence of the dangers of climate change and further implications that this needs to be limited to 1.5c.

Why is COP26 important for businesses?

COP26 gives businesses an exciting opportunity to assess their current operations and how they can improve them to meet future governmental expectations as well as consumer ones. COP26 is important for businesses for numerous reasons.

  1. Opportunity to build back better

Covid-19 has had a massive global impact, it has forced individuals, businesses and governments to reassess their priorities and consider their impact on the environment. Post-covid, the UK, amongst other countries, is looking to rebuild its economy with an emphasis on ‘build back better’, helping the transition to Net Zero. With a stronger emphasis on green recovery, Covid-19 offers a unique opportunity for businesses to align their businesses with the targets set at the Paris Agreement and the ongoing targets moving forwards.

2. Future legislation

The conference is a globally attended event and will inevitably have wide coverage, the result of which will mean increased awareness of the current state of countries climates, governments will be expected to implement new legislation which tackles the issues raised by COP26 which will undoubtedly have implications for businesses

3. Changes to consumer expectations and purchasing  

COP26 will bring to light the effects of climate change and shift consumer expectations with people putting further emphasis on choosing businesses that act responsibly. Businesses have the opportunity to grow their business by aligning their values with their customers and enticing more people, be that customers, employees or investors, to their brand.

4. Accelerate the green market

Stakeholders are looking to invest in businesses that are implementing sustainability into their business strategy as they expect good returns in the long run. The COP26 agenda aims to address the use of private finance in supporting a whole-economy transition to Net Zero. Alok Sharma, COP26 President and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said ‘We are calling on action from everyone – businesses, civil society and each part of the global financial system to meet the Paris Agreement goals. COP26 is also a critical moment to enhance support for developing countries. We are determined to work together to deliver a prosperous, zero carbon future for all.’

How can Zellar help?

Zellar is here to help make sustainability simple, whether you’re just starting your journey or already on your way. We will help your business benchmark, manage, offset and promote your sustainability journey. ‘Around 70% of the world economy is now covered by net zero targets, up from less than 30 percent when the UK took on the COP26 Presidency. All G7 nations now have 2030 emissions reduction targets, aligned with net zero by 2050.’ Zellar can help you set Net Zero targets so you can meet future legislation and demonstrate to your customers your commitment to becoming sustainable. With COP26 drumming up more support for climate change action, now is the perfect time to join Zellar and accelerate your journey to Net Zero.

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