Time is running out. Climate scientists have put us on notice: our actions over the next 10 years will decide where humanity lives for the rest of its existence. We need government, business and individuals to participate and accelerate climate action. Against the backdrop of the UK's net zero target, our 3 climate leaders from Landsec, M&G Investments and ETL shared the secrets to their success.
At our packed Climate Leaders Forum in London the panel comprised: Adrian Gault from the Committee on Climate Change; Owen Anderson from M&G Investments; Alexandra Hammond from ETL; and Brendan Rouse from Landsec. Rich with experience in sustainability from different sectors and industries - public, healthcare, financial and property - they kept coming back to the following three themes of climate leadership.
The Climate Leaders Forum centers around collaboration, this was felt strongly throughout the morning. Alexandra Hammond stressed to the event attendees the opportunities that arise through collaborating with each other and sharing data, sharing experiences and sharing knowledge. Cross-sector communication can uncover new ways of overcoming shared challenges in corporate climate action.
Brendan Rouse put much of Landsec's impressive track record on climate action down to company culture, hailed as the foundation of action and reducing friction when implementing necessary changes. He suggested that a shift in culture might be at the core of ensuring stakeholders throughout the organisation embrace climate action.
Industry leaders set new benchmarks and drive action across their sectors and beyond. Reputational risk, by not acting on climate change, is the driving force of innovative action on climate as companies strive to go one step further than their peers. Once you start the journey, achieving your goals can be easier than you think, indeed M&G Investments set a target of RE100 by 2025, which they will exceed. Anderson's advice: act now, you will accomplish more if you just get going.
And finally, how did we get onto plastic as a gateway drug and teabag gate?
With environmental issues increasingly covered by mainstream media, organisations can boost employee engagement by involving them in their sustainability action. Indeed, the David Attenborough effect has brought plastic pollution to the fore and if channeled correctly, this groundswell of support can act as a 'gateway drug' to all environmental issues, including the invisible yet potent Co2. Sometimes, however, changes can make people feel like they're missing out; colleagues of one panelist were supportive of large-scale changes but when it came to small everyday changes, like the brand of teabag (!), they were strongly opposed.
Adrian Gault, Chief Economist for the CCC, urged the attendees not to wait for the perfect policy to be in place, but instead focus on immediate action. Businesses need to start acting now in order to achieve a net zero target by 2050.
We look forward to seeing you at our next Climate Leaders Forum in the new year!
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