There is a sea change underway, and it is being led in no small part by organizations. Faced with increasing risk of business disruption from climate-related weather events, pressure from stakeholders to future-proof operations, and policy and political shifts, more and more organizations are taking voluntary action on environmental concerns.
Commonly, these actions are also economically beneficial, helping organizations to reduce resource consumption, hedge against market conditions, or improve financial performance.
Collectively, these actions prove immense. For example:
- Since 2014, companies have purchased over 30 gigawatts of renewable energy worldwide, helping drive an increase in overall renewable energy generation to one-third of global energy production;
- More than 550 companies have committed to a science-based reduction target, agreeing to align their operations with a decarbonization goal based on the most recent climate science; and
- 103 organizations from a variety of sectors are now members of the CE100, an initiative of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, exploring the frontiers of circularity to reduce waste.
But is it enough?
Despite voluntary organizational activities:
- Carbon emissions reached an all-time high in 2018
- Corporations reporting higher water withdrawals have almost doubled in a four-year period
- The World Bank finds that solid waste is expected to grow by 70% by 2050
- We are losing biodiversity at an alarming pace: 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the naturally occurring background rate
That makes this Earth Day more relevant and more compelling than ever for organizations, many of whom recognize that continued business operations are dependent upon healthy ecosystems. Indeed, more than 50% of those recently surveyed report that they have set one or more public energy or sustainability targets. These goals also help organizations accelerate their actions, and they’re also more likely to secure funding for energy and sustainability projects and to invest in innovative technologies.
Source: 2019 Corporate Energy & Sustainability Progress Report, insights.se.com.
We can do more.
Organizations hold the key to systemic change—change that will be required, and not optional, as we continue to digitize and electrify our world. And that’s the key, and why investor interests in acting on climate - and environmental risk are growing.
This Earth Day, the other 40% of companies that have not set public targets could do so. Others could take bolder action to move more aggressively towards their goals. And we can all collectively push our businesses to move faster and go bigger than before.
Not sure how to get started? Our new interactive guide can set you on the right path.