Business Should Engage on Climate Year Round, Not Just at COPs
The unenviable task of negotiation at COP16 in Cancun is fraught with difficulties. As we have seen, the process of multilateral government negotiation is both complex and challenging. A final deal and a perfect outcome may now look unlikely to even the most optimistic, but as Christiana Figueres said, sometimes "perfect is the enemy of the good."
A stalemate scenario on the quest for perfection would indeed be a tragic conclusion for us all; continuing to move forward is vital. Business needs long-term certainty and clarity in regulation and it is important to remember that business is integral to generating the solutions to climate change.
As the negotiations continue, business has already seen itself on the sidelines. Disappointing as this may be, it is not altogether surprising. Business cannot head to the COPs expecting all their government engagement to take place over these few weeks. It needs a far more sustained approach all year around, demonstrating the business solutions using compelling and concrete case studies and helping governments understand how best to support industry in carbon mitigation and reduction efforts.
As our executive chairman Paul Dickinson wrote in a recent GreenBiz.com blog, it’s time for businesses to show governments across the world that climate change is an opportunity.
Whether due to energy costs, energy supply risk, brand reputation, the cost of carbon, employee expectations, financial risk or competitive positioning, carbon management is already becoming a mainstream strategic priority for leading companies.
It is moving from the CSR department, into procurement, finance, the supply chain and up into the boardroom. As some leading businesses are already demonstrating, there are benefits for those that take action. Once governments recognize this and when the conversation moves away from one of cost to one of opportunity and solutions, there will be a lot more cause for optimism.
Image CC licensed by UN Climate Talks.