Given the backdrop of the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, more and more organizations are making ambitious public climate commitments. The increase in commitments is also driven by an organization’s stakeholders such as, employees, investors, and customers, that see long-term value in incorporating climate change and related effects into its business strategy. Organizations who have made these commitments then face the challenge of determining how they can act on their pledges.
What can companies do to add credibility to their climate commitments? With these key actions, organizations can reduce emissions effectively and quantifiably:
1. Commit to 100% renewable power with RE100. Fully evaluating available opportunities for renewable energy and developing a roadmap to meeting your needs can enable your company to go green in a cost-effective manner. There are multiple options to procure renewable energy to meet the RE100 commitment, such as installing renewable energy generation at your facility, purchasing through a power purchase agreement, or purchasing renewable energy credits.
2. Develop a Climate Action Plan to incorporate climate change impacts into your business strategies. To accomplish company-wide emissions reductions with specific goals, an entity must develop criteria to assess emissions reduction strategies and a method to prioritize greenhouse gas emissions within the decision-making process. Doing so not only integrates climate change into standard company policy, but also ensures that the organization’s commitment becomes visible to stakeholders, shareholders, and employees. Developing this awareness builds an audience that will hold you accountable.
3. Partner with your supply chain to develop energy/emissions reduction goals. Your supply chain is an extension of your company, and may likely hold the majority of your emissions, therefore enhancing the sustainability of your supply chain is critical to achieving your climate targets. According to CDP, “Upstream GHG emissions can be up to four times larger than a company’s operational emissions.” Your company can benefit from collaborative relationships with its suppliers, reduced waste and inefficiency, and increased visibility into supply chain risks and opportunities.
4. Commit to establishing a science-based target using a method approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). Corporate emissions reduction targets consistent with the SBTi requirements can distinguish your organization as a leader in environmental management and move your organization towards increased efficiency and more resilient operations. Prior to developing a science-based target, a company must conduct a Scope 3 threshold screening and assess the seven approved methods to ensure that its target meets the SBTi best-practice criteria.
5. Apply recommendations from the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures to your public financial reports. Published in June 2017, TCFD recommendations encourage companies to assess climate-related risks and disclose them alongside risks already identified in public financial disclosures and reports. To assess medium and long-term climate-related risks, the TCFD suggests that companies employ scenario analysis over a range of future climate and economic scenarios, including established scenarios predicting conditions in a world 2° warmer than pre-industrial levels. Assessing an organization’s vulnerability to physical and financial risks from climate change enables development of resilience strategies in the near-term so longer-term risks can be mitigated.
No matter what your company’s current emissions status, Cadmus is well positioned to help you add credibility to your climate commitments.