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COP26: Why is every Tom, Dick and Harriet tuned into the climate conversation?

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

A thought for corporate foundations

The 2021 Conference of Parties (COP) has gained a lot of media attention in the lead-up to the internationally-focused event. Three days in and the noise is quite deafening - from social media pundits to seasoned journalists, everyone has an opinion.

Climate change has been discussed for decades by scientists, environmentalists and global leaders, but why now, this year, do we see commentary flowing from all sectors from aviation to zoology?

Certainly, the impact of COVID-19 has had an effect, bringing home the point to individuals that restrictions on movement and a significant slowdown of social and economic activities did improve the air quality in many cities, reduce water pollution in different parts of the world. Worldwide we saw a sudden drop in greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions.

Heightened awareness and perhaps the David Attenborough/ Greta Thunberg effect, amongst others, have brought climate change and sustainability more generally into mainstream conversations. Consumers demand businesses do better environmentally as well as socially - planet, people and profits. Businesses and the finance sector know they have to do better to ensure a future for their brands and investments.

For those of us embedded in sustainability, we are acutely aware of one rather important thing - we are in the decade of action. 2030 or D-day is less than ten years away. Significant progress still needs to be made globally to ensure that a climate disaster is averted and all 17 sustainable development goals that are interlinked are achieved.

What makes this conference unique?

We are now living the effects of climate change. 2021 has seen the devastating loss of lives and livelihoods due to extreme weather events. These events have touched most continents with frightening scenes of wildfires and flooding.

It is thought that more than 800 million people—11% of the world's population are affected by climate change.

The knock-on effect deepens current global challenges such as life on land and desertification, food insecurity and mass migration and unemployment.

Consequently, COP26 has to be a success and deliver on the agreements made in Paris in 2015.

Part of that delivery needs to be mobilising finance, capacity building, technology, transparent reporting and effective collaborations.

How can corporate foundations contribute?

Finance is the big one, estimates range from billions to trillions, with investing in technology crucial to finding solutions and turning climate change from a challenge into an opportunity, such as job creation.

However, some of the best solutions to climate change are often overlooked. Communities already innovating to fight climate change at the local level understand how the needs of their community are impacted. But localised approaches continue to be neglected by the broader humanitarian sector, receiving less than 2% of global humanitarian aid.

As we advocate for green policy, invest in green technology, and make changes to reduce our carbon footprint, we must not overlook the powerful role of community-based approaches in the fight against climate change.

For corporate foundations, this is a chance to be part of the finance conversation, to help shape the policy and the market's response to climate change. By thoughtfully communicating the realities on the ground, foundations and their boards could have a transformative effect on financing for climate change.

Contact us

In this decade of action, there is much work to be done - governments, individuals, businesses and not-for-profits, all need to take a leadership role and be responsible.

As a sustainability consultancy, we ensure our support to clients is wrapped in collaborations and partnerships (SDG17), which empowers SMEs, social enterprises and corporate foundations to shift rapidly and with a focus.

To find out more about SDG Changemakers and how we support corporate foundations to create the most significant impact - get in touch with Felicity Jones or Claire Benson.

About SDG Changemakers

SDG Changemakers works with businesses to accelerate the scale of action to deliver against the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG Changemakers challenge and empower businesses to be purpose-driven, take practical action and mobilise their collective strength to deliver against the Global Goals.

Using the Sustainable Development Goals as our base, our framework focuses on how companies can bring about lasting social, environmental and economic changes through running their businesses responsibly.

To learn more about what SDG Changemakers do and how we support organisations like yours, get in touch.


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