Innovative thinking and business models can open the door to faster, more effective climate change action, said panellists at this year's Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development. Innovation – and its bedfellow disruption – is how businesses today can take action on climate change.
Sharing this example at a panel discussion at the Responsible Business Forum in Singapore in late November was Ingo Puhl, director of strategy and co-founder of emission reduction project developer South Pole Group. In the same way that automobiles offered an out-of-the-box solution and a more attractive future in transportation, the messaging behind tackling climate change needs to be about how "these solutions make life more pleasant and liveable, and meets our needs in a better way", said Puhl.
This year's Responsible Business Forum was the first United Nations Development Programme business forum in Asia to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 goals that form part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aiming to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.
The panel discussion was part of a workshop focused on Sustainable Development Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Puhl challenged the audience and fellow panellists to innovate, check their existing assumptions, and grab new opportunities in the fight to address climate change.
He pointed out that there is already a shift in the way businesses are taking climate action today – from an entity-centric model, in which specific agencies or departments would be tasked with taking eco-friendly action, to one where the desired results are the starting point around which suppliers and partners are then organised.
"The business of creating impact now becomes a value chain and we deliver impact like we deliver a product," Puhl said, adding that this was "much more efficient".