Business leaders must do more to change the trajectory of climate change

We are living in arguably the most critical moment for climate change. The recent COP27 summit recognised the need for urgent action on a number of issues, but greater focus on reducing fossil fuel emissions will be important for real progress.

Mats Hägerström is PPG’s regional sustainability leader for EMEA. He shares his experiences and opinions regarding sustainability goals.

Data has shown that the last decade was the hottest in 125,000 years, and CO2 emissions are the highest in 2 million years. However, according to a recent Harris survey ordered by Google that polled C-level executives and vice presidents, 65% of executives want to advance sustainability, but don’t know how, and a mere 36% of respondents say they have the tools to measure progress. 

While the urgency can be overwhelming, we cannot let doubt be a barrier to action. As individuals and organizations, we can and must do more to slow the effects of climate change to protect the planet for current and future generations. As we look ahead, corporations’ top ESG priorities should include evaluating opportunities for reducing long cycle carbon dependencies, developing emission goals, identifying areas to contribute to the circular economy and seeking new avenues to develop innovative, sustainable products.

Developing scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions goals enable companies to change the trajectory of climate change and identify a clear decarbonisation strategy. I encourage sustainability leaders to determine how they can reduce their emissions and set ambitious targets – it is our responsibility as corporate stewards of the environment in which we live and work. It’s also important for organisations to collaborate closely with their customers, supply chain partners and academia to understand current needs, anticipate future needs, and work together to identify new ways to improve sustainability across the value chain. With global standards evolving at a rapid pace, companies can and must allocate dedicated resources to understand inherent opportunities and impacts and respond swiftly to necessary changes in raw materials, product assortments and more. 

Business leaders can have an impact on the trajectory of climate change, if they further their understanding of the main causes of emissions within their value chain and identify solutions to reduce their impact. We must lean on each other to share best practices, resources and offer support in this crucial moment for our planet. But most importantly, we must take action.

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