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How Do We Integrate Climate Change into Our Current Business Strategy?
Posted by Wendy Ye on Jun 7, 2016 10:00:00 AM
Climate change awareness is growing and companies of all sizes and industries are starting to consider their own impacts. Every company has their own challenges and opportunities, and integrating climate change into your business strategy can help ensure you are systematizing your process to focus on the impacts that are relevant and mitigation strategies that are meaningful and realistic. How can climate change and business strategy work hand-in-hand in this age?
Every company is different. To ensure sustained success, it’s very important to secure executive management buy-in to define the goal and scope of your climate change strategy. From there, key individuals and/or external resources should be identified with roles and responsibilities defined. It is important to create a process that works for you to identify and review impacts for relevance and action; this could be akin to or even integrated into an existing risk management system.
Climate change strategies often start with companies identifying ways that they can reduce their energy consumption, and therefore decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Many of these initiatives are “low-hanging fruit” that save companies money with very short payback periods. For example, a company may shut down lighting systems after-hours, adjust indoor temperature a few degrees, or combine a few long-distance business trips to reduce the number of flights. It is also important to start tracking emissions and setting targets as early on as possible. After all, what gets measured gets managed. Communication to employees about your climate strategy and involving your value chain can also be crucial to solidifying a long-term strategy.
As companies improve and refine their climate strategy, many start to think about more ambitious projects which may have longer payback periods, like switching to renewable energy. As an example, Apple started to develop and use 100% renewable energy for its data centers in 2013. Other more advanced initiatives could include:
- Engaging your value chain—those who manufacture, deliver and consume your products and services—to help reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions
- Developing less carbon-intensive products
- Collaborating with other organizations to share best practices
- Introducing incentives to encourage positive behavior and reach your targets
- Establishing a sustainability team to monitor and report corporate climate change performance
Every company has their individual challenges and opportunities in integrating climate change into their business strategy. By building a strong foundation and with the right support, any company can make the necessary steps to minimize their climate change impact.
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