Rachid Frihmat, Simon Nicholas and Harry Briggs said that the recent United Nations Cop26 summit in Glasgow had been dubbed the ‘business and finance COP’, because of the more prominent role the business and finance community had taken compared with previous conferences.
‘The scrutiny of plans on decarbonisation is only going to grow from both investors and from consumers,’ they said in an analysis reflecting on the UN summit and implications for business.
‘This is especially true in the UK, which had already made climate risk disclosures mandatory for large companies from 2022, and for all companies by 2025. In addition, they’ve now added a new requirement for listed companies to produce net-zero transition plans by 2023.’
Globally, the International Sustainability Standards Board was now tasked with coming up with global reporting standards with a focus on carbon emissions.
Governments were also expected to continue to pursue policy initiatives to help drive the agenda, not just for reporting, but across the wider carbon space.
Institutional investors take this agenda ‘incredibly seriously’, recognising it directly relates to the value of their investments. With much greater focus from the investment community, companies making commitments would no longer be enough – developing meaningful and well thought out plans, followed by swift action, is the future.
‘The reality? These changes are coming and businesses should be prepared. If you already have a credible, quantified plan for emissions reductions, then great – if you don’t, you should begin to consider one as soon as possible,’ said the trio.
The climate agenda was not just about risk for business, but also grasping the value in the opportunity associated with the global response to the climate crisis.
‘Society is entering a phase where low-carbon goods and services have increased value and this feature will likely continue to dominate the marketplace. Organisations who understand the value opportunity as well as the risk are most likely to be successful.
‘The shift to net zero is the next great industrial revolution and businesses that seize the opportunity are expected to thrive – those that don’t may not.