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

Updated: Sep 18

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?