I attended a discussion themed 'COP26 and the Climate Crisis, expectations from Government and Industry'.

Key points I took away:

  • Whatever organisation you are in or your role within that organisation, you have an opportunity to make a difference to the physical environment and on a social level.
  • Unequivocal – that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.
  • Unprecedented – the scale and speed of change.
  • Irreversible – “widespread and rapid changes” have already occurred in every inhabited region across the globe and are “irreversible for centuries to millennia”.
  • Exponential – the curve of the impact is close to tipping point.
  • From 2016 onwards, sustainability in business has been more purpose driven – its agenda attracts both customers and employees.
  • Value can be created from sustainability. Sustainable brands are growing at faster rates. They have an improved reputation, benefit from energy savings, have better recruitment prospects and unlock new markets.
  • It takes a significant amount of energy to construct, operate and service buildings. In order to significantly reduce the industry’s carbon impact, we will need to adopt a whole life approach. Upskilling of an entire industry will be required.
  • Lenders are already starting to pass on opportunities where a borrower has not got a strong ESG strategy in place. Borrowing on brown buildings is likely to be a big issue for investors and developers in the not so distant future. 

Tackling sustainability issues and paying for those changes is at this stage, more stick than carrot. We can all do something in our personal and professional lives that will have an impact on the environment in which we all live.

Final thoughts: Could you spend five minutes today to think about what small step you could take to lead a more environmentally-friendly life, and could you possibly influence others to also take that same action?