Head of Secretariat, UN Global Compact Network Canada
2022 is notable for environmentalists as it marks the fifty-year celebration of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment — the first international environmental meeting. From June 5 to 11, we celebrated the Canadian Environment Week, which reminded us to look deeper into our commitments and actions to protect the environment. Unfortunately, while progress is happening, at this rate, it may not allow us to avoid a catastrophe. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of scientists whose findings are endorsed by the world’s governments, published a report in August 2021 that warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts, and flooding. The report also highlights a critical temperature limit broken in just over a decade. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said, “it’s a code red for humanity.”
Transformative change and accelerated actions are necessary to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C. To support this process, the UN Global Compact has developed several frameworks to help businesses scale up impact toward the ambitious targets set in the Paris Agreement. We understand that companies have a crucial role in scaling innovative solutions to build trust and present credible plans toward a zero-carbon economy. They do their part to increase society’s resilience and unlock climate finance.
One essential action that businesses can take today to strengthen their commitment to climate action is to work with the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) — a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The science-based target initiative has become the gold standard for businesses to set credible targets to address the climate crisis. More than 3,000 businesses globally have now set science-based targets and net-zero commitment.
The UN Global Compact participants can access the Academy, which offers e-learning courses guiding companies in establishing a science-based target in support of a net-zero future. In addition, the UN Global Compact participants are also offered the Climate Ambition Accelerator programme to understand the Science-Based Targets initiative and the net-zero concept, including methodologies, requirements, processes, benefits, and benefits applicability.
It’s critical for businesses to connect the dots between climate action commitment and supporting policies. Companies must be sincere in sending market signals for countries to enhance climate policy for an enabling environment. We need to build on the momentum of scaling up and mainstreaming the adoption of supporting initiatives to have a fighting chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C.