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How Does COP26 Affect my Business?

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

Earlier this month, the Conference of the Parties (COP26) was held in Glasgow, Scotland. During two weeks, representatives from more than 187 countries, climate change experts, activists, and the private sector got together to find solutions for the battle against climate change.

The meeting had four main objectives:

1- Secure global Net-zero emissions by the year 2050 and keep temperatures from rising above 1.5C.

2- Promote adaptation to protect communities and natural habitats.

3- Mobilize finance from developed to underdeveloped countries.

4- Work together to deliver results.

After fourteen days of emotional speeches, informative lectures, demonstrations, and endless discussions, world leaders set the ground and agree on key issues on which to focus efforts. Where to focus?

  • Leaders from over 100 countries agreed to stop deforestation by the year 2030. Why? Because trees are vital to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and they are an important habitat for thousands of species.

  • More than 100 countries - except for some big polluters like China, Russia and India- agreed to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Methane emissions are thought to be one of the main factors that accelerate the process of climate change.

  • Wealthier countries have committed to providing financial support to underdeveloped countries, which are less prepared to face the economic burden of switching to greener fuel sources and more sustainable lifestyles.

  • Several financial organizations agreed on funding “cleaner” sources of energy and fuel.

What does it mean for the world?

It means there’s an intention to do the right thing, to urgently work towards a sustainable future and ensure a healthy planet for generations to come.

Practically everyone understands it is not an easy task to tackle all issues. Still, more and more world leaders are assimilating the idea of shared targets and goals and fostering collaboration. After all, we are all on this planet together.

But, let’s not forget that COP26 is not a legally binding contract and that an authentic commitment and the desire to restore our world must be the key motivators to keep everyone on target.

What’s next?

To achieve the goals set during COP26, we need to work together, promote active participation, and get involved. Still, and probably the most important attitude is that of demanding accountability from world leaders and businesses. We need more agents of change, conscious consumers who vote with their dollars, supporting only those businesses run with integrity and with a responsible approach towards our planet. Even more, we need to walk the talk, engage in healthier habits, and switch to more sustainable practices at home and work. We all need to make big efforts and sacrifices. In the words of Thomas Friedman, the writer for The New York Times, “everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”

But apart from demanding accountability, we need to promote innovation and facilitate access to financial resources for those who dare to try to do things differently. Today, our world needs engineers, scientists, innovators, government, and financial institutions working together to find more eco-friendly solutions to how we build our buildings, transport people and goods, and manufacture foods and common goods.

We have the chance and the responsibility to reinvent our world.

What does it mean for our businesses?

This is an exciting moment for entrepreneurs who want to bet on our world. The transition to a healthier future generates opportunities for innovation in areas such as developing better materials, promoting reusable products, utilizing less and more eco-friendly packaging, and introducing new products for changes in lifestyles. We are at an inflection point where the emphasis is put on a more equitable and inclusive society, regenerative agriculture, waste management, circular economies, zero emissions, and clean energy. A different future opens the door for new businesses to emerge and innovative ideas to flourish. Today, small businesses have the chance to differentiate themselves from national brands by offering “better and nobler” products, having a unique story to tell, or by supporting local and vulnerable communities. In addition, the B-Lab movement with its B-Corp certification is growing rapidly with more and more businesses committed to being a force for good that brings solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. A rising number of consumers are reading behind labels concerned with traceability of supply chain, toxic and chemicals on materials, and the environmental footprint of their purchases.

Running a sustainable business is not an option anymore, but it is the only path to long-lasting success.

How to run a more sustainable business? - Our methodology

Running a more sustainable business is simpler than most people think. It is about putting efforts and resources where your business can maximize impact and reduce risks.

At Thinking Beyond Business, we follow a simple and organized approach:

1- We work on company values and purpose, the guiding principles that drive the business culture and strategy.

2- We assess the business to find opportunities and identify risks by comparing them with best practices of sustainability within each industry. Some companies put the emphasis on the environmental aspect of sustainable practices, others on the social, and others on governance.

3- We perform a materiality analysis to identify where businesses can generate the largest impact and assign priorities.

4- We focus on quick wins, those initiatives that provide significant impact with minimal usage of available resources.

5- We develop an action plan for more ambitious projects, assigning due dates, targets, and a responsible party.

6- We develop metrics to monitor progress.

7- We generate an impact report to communicate initiatives and progress.

We recognize it could sound overwhelming, that’s why a materiality assessment is key to direct efforts, time, and financial resources towards specific goals.

We can help you run a successful business attuned to the needs of a new, more conscious, and demanding world. Get in touch with us. We love working with individuals who care for our world!


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