Dominic Harris from CarbonQuota explains the importance of COP26 which takes place 31st October - 12th November 2021 in Glasgow.
What is it?
COP26 is the 26th "Conference Of the Parties". In other words, the 26th time that the United Nations is getting people together to agree how to become a sustainable society. It will be held in Glasgow in the first two weeks of November and will dominate the daily news.
In 2015, at COP21 in Paris, most nations agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – this is now known as the Paris Agreement.
What needs to be achieved at COP26?
As floods, wildfires and heatwaves intensify, each COP is more important than the last to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
There are four key objectives:
- Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by 2050. To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to commit their businesses to activities including phasing out coal, stopping de-forestation, speeding up the switch to electric vehicles and encouraging investment in renewables.
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
The climate is already changing, and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects. Countries need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to protect and restore ecosystems, and build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.
- Mobilise finance
To deliver on the first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year. International financial institutions must play their part and countries will be asked to unleash the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.
- Work together to deliver
Countries must work together to rise to the challenges of the climate crisis. COP26 must finalise the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational.
Who is going?
There are three types of attendees. Heads of state and ministers who can create legislation. Business and finance leaders who can commit to making their goods, services, supply chains and investments more sustainable. And finally, celebrities and influencers whose role is to heighten public awareness and encourage sustainable consumption.
How will it affect our members?
Climate change is not something any of our members can afford to ignore. New legislation is inevitable to force the wide format digital, screen, textile print and signage industry to reduce its carbon footprint.
Every business must least halve its carbon footprint by 2030, compared to today. This means you will have to think about things like:
- Identifying if you or any of your suppliers use coal to generate electricity or heat, and switching to renewable sources.
- Investigating whether there is a risk that your paper or wood purchasing is causing deforestation, directly or indirectly, and if so, finding alternative sources.
- Working with your customers to stop paper ending up in landfill at the end of its life, where it releases methane which is a massive contributor to climate change.
- Investing and asking your suppliers to invest in electric vehicles to replace diesel/petrol, and eventually hybrid as well.
- Investing and asking your suppliers to invest firstly in 100% renewable electricity, and then on-site renewables such as solar or even wind turbines.
- Collaborating with your clients and society in general on the issue.
- Creating some urgency. Someone in your business must become accountable.
- Measuring and reporting. You will need to prove to government, stakeholders, customers, and consumers that your initiatives are working.
And finally ….
CarbonQuota are experts in carbon measurement and reporting and specialise in the print and materials market. The have helped many of our members already and we encourage you to get in touch with them.
+44 (0)20 8798 3992
by Dominic Harris