What does COP22 mean for business in Singapore and Asia?
How COP 21 affected the world
In November last year, over 195 countries came together at COP 21 and created an agreement to commit to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees. And in October this year we saw the ‘ratification’ of that agreement – after countries accounting for over 55% of global greenhouse-gas emissions submitted legal instruments to ratify their performance. Which brings us to now – COP22.
The world came together in Marrakech in Morocco to start concrete actions to achieve the global targets for greenhouse-gas limits. Singapore, for example, has ratified this agreement and has formally pledged to reduce its emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030.
And it’s not just governments that are running the scene, business has showed up to the party. Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, very aptly puts into words why businesses have a huge part to play. “Business has a historic opportunity and responsibility to lead the world down to a more just, rich and sustainable path. We cannot choose between economic growth and sustainability – we must have both,” he said.
This is a huge opportunity for businesses in Singapore, as the world gears towards combatting climate change. Companies that integrate sustainability into the core of their business will be pioneers in this new era, attracting the best brains and talent.
On the flip side, late adopters risk facing increasing regulation and government pressure to reduce their carbon footprint to maintain licence to operate, or avoid high taxes. The opportunity though, lies in the fact that more sustainable businesses not only frequently have lower operating costs, but also increase profits by appealing to an increasing conscious millennial market.
Corporations need to work both with the government and civil society to achieve our global climate goals. And if the COP 22 targets are any indication, the time for action is now.