How can businesses scale up action to limit climate change?

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C is still possible but requires a rapid and far-reaching transition but we only have 12 years to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% compared to 2010 levels. But what would a low-carbon economy look like?

jeudi, 03 janvier 2019 11:24:00

 Expert Insight 

Business As Nature: A conscious leap towards sustainability

The private sector, which accounts for 60% of global GDP and is the main cause of global warming (a mere 100 companies cause 71% of global emissions), must take the lead in dealing with climate change and enabling sustainable development. Yet, to be effective in this leadership role, businesses need a radical shift in their consciousness—from “Business Vs. Nature” to “Business As Nature”—so they can learn to engage with Nature in a symbiotic way.

Navi Radjou, Author of Conscious Society: Reinventing How We Consume, Work, Relate, and Live

 Business Insight 

100 years later, it’s our turn to rise to the challenge

In fact, climate change now poses a greater threat to our way of life than many of the military threats of the 20th century. While few dispute this, the mobilisation of likeminded leaders determined to stop it in its tracks is not yet where it needs to be.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever 

The concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere hit 411 parts per million in May 2018, for the first time in recorded history. This is the highest CO2 level in the 800,000 years for which we have reliable data according to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. All sectors -- energy, agriculture, mobility, digital -- bear some responsibility for these emissions andconsequently climate change.Click below to discover, for each sector, business solutions for climate as well as expert and business insights.

How about agriculture ?

Agriculture is a large contributor to climate change, mainly because of deforestation and meat production, but a lot of alternative and sustainable models are already being developed all over the world. Agroforestry for instance provides a unique opportunity to combine the twin objectives of climate change adaptation and mitigation. How can we ensure that we produce enough food in a sustainable way for the generations to come?

Key Fact

Agriculture, Forestry and Land use represent 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Source Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Some Ideas for Climate

Did you know that cows' digestion emits methane, a gas that is 28 times more harmful than CO2? The Swiss company Agolin has found a plant-based recipe to reduce those emissions in Europe. On the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, Elephant Green produces 50,000 tons of biofertilizers each year, while the Cameroonian cocoa industry is betting on agroforestry to restore its soil and limit droughts. In this same country, Save Our Agriculture has opted for aquaponics, a closed circuit where fish feed the plants that filter their water. As climate change makes rainfalls more and more unpredictable, Kenya-based Futurepump has developed solar-powered pumps to help smallholder farmers.

 Expert Insight 

Golden Fields of Opportunity for Business and Forests

The sourcing of wood pulp poses a huge threat to the world’s ancient and endangered forests and climate. [...] Paper packaging is projected to rise by four per cent per annum globally  [...] Coupled with the growth in the fashion sector’s use of wood cellulose-derived rayon and viscose, you can virtually hear the chainsaws roaring in forests around the world.

Nicole Rycroft, Founder and Executive Director of Canopy

Business Insight

How can retail giants become sustainable?

As various industries are trying to reinvent themselves, considering both the evolution of consumer habits and the rising ethical and environmental concerns among the population, one could ask: where is the retail industry at? More specifically, where are all the famous French retail giants, many of which are amongst the most prestigious players worldwide? Companies who wish to survive the transformations brought by the digital revolution — and thrive — need to understand the deep societal challenges we all face.

Thomas Papadopoulos, President of French Bureau

How about energy ?

The energy sector represents 35% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which make it the biggest contributor to climate change. However, it is going through a bold transition towards renewables. For example, almost 100% of the electricity of Costa Rica is produced from renewable energy sources. How can we ensure an equal access to clean energy all over the world?

Key Fact

1.06 billion people, predominantly rural dwellers, still function without electricity. Half of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa

Source United Nations

Some Ideas for Climate

Africa’s second largest oil producer, Angola, is turning to renewables with the help of companies like LTP Energias to achieve a 35% decrease in CO2 emissions. All over the continent, ingenious systems are being deployed such as the pay-as-you-go system to foster solar energy consumption. In Luxembourg, SWIRL bets on small wind turbines to power the world’s mobile phone relays that used to require a huge amount of diesel. In China, Pioneer Energy is tackling the issue of storing renewable energy thanks to an innovative thermal storage system. Energy can also come from waste, as proved by Nigeria-based Green Energy & Biofuels which uses sawdust to produce biofuel. Meanwhile, in Russia, Wisesoil made a process capable of improving the yield of biogas production to make biodigestion even more attractive.

Expert Insight 

We must scale-up the decarbonisation of energy

In 2017, more than 85 percent of the global energy mix was fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency ­— with a 35 percent share of oil, followed by coal (28 percent) and natural gas (24 percent). Daily energy consumption is thus the main contribution to climate change, followed by other factors such as deforestation or soil use changes. Sylvain Boucherand and Charles Adrien Louis, cofounders of B&L Evolution

Sylvain Boucherand and Charles Adrien Louis, cofounders of B&L Evolution

Business Insight 

Ending the Energy Access Paradox

All too often we hear that energy access and the fight against climate change are conflicting priorities. While achieving the second goal means controlling global energy demand and lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reaching the first objective could lead to the spiraling of energy demand and a fatal increase of GHG emissions.[...] For the sake of nature, should we leave billions of people in a state of poverty and under-development? This is a false – and damaging – narrative.

Isabelle Kocher, ENGIE CEO

Business Insight 

Total’s ambition is to reduce the carbon intensity of its energy products by 15% between 2015 - the date of the Paris Agreement - and 2030.

All solutions need to contribute and we have defined five strategic levers to do this: improve the energy efficiency of our industrial facilities, further expand across the natural gas value chain, strengthen our low-carbon electricity business, develop biomass and establish a carbon storage activity. This trajectory constitutes Total’s responsible contribution to the objectives set out in the Paris Agreement.

Etienne Anglès d’Auriac, Vice-President Climate at Total

*This section has been produced with the support of ENGIE, TOTAL, UNILEVER, SUEZ, BNPP.

How about IT ?

The still young IT industry is rapidly becoming a significant contributor to climate change because of its voracious consumption of energy. Upstream, it relies on the costly and polluting extraction of rare metals that often come from conflict zones. Will the Internet be greener, better, faster, stronger?

Key Fact

Data centres are currently emitting 2% of global the greenhouse gas emissions.

Source Yale Environment 360

Some Ideas for Climate

More than more than one in two individuals worldwide can access the Internet. In Europe, this proportion reaches 85%. The Internet needs high-tech which needs rare Earth. To avoid continuing to extract those latter, the French company Morphosis specialized in upcycling IT products and getting back those precious metals. In the same time, data centres' energy consumption keeps growing. Tackling this challenge, the company Qarnot creates computing servers integrated into radiators, therefore, using the heat produced by the calculations to warm offices and homes.

Expert Insight 

The energy transition is a metallic one

Electric cars, windmills, solar panels, cities and intelligent network... All these "green" and digital technologies share the specificity of being highly metal-consuming. Technology minerals include basic metals such as iron, copper or zinc as well as less abundant ones [which] are sought after for their great optical, catalytic or magnetic properties. These "small metals" are the lesser known base of digital and green tech, presented as environment-friendly. [...] The question is all the more crucial given that the environmental impact of rare metals' extraction and refining contradict the litany of incantatory statements on the coming of a greener world.

Guillaume Pitron, Author of "The war of rare metals: the hidden face of the energy and digital transition"

Business Insight 

Using the Internet of Things for the energy transition

The rising power of the digital age, directly connected to the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), has paved the way to improving energy efficiency worldwide. And since the international community is trying hard to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels, it would be a serious mistake to miss such an opportunity.

Gilles Vermot Desroches, Director of Sustainable Development of Schneider Electric

*This section has been produced with the support of ENGIE, TOTAL, UNILEVER, SUEZ, BNPP.

How about transportation ?

At this very second, 9,728 planes are flying, meaning 1.3 million persons are up in the air. Now more than ever, distance might not seem so important as you can go everywhere in the world in just a few hours. Yet, transport often means pollution. It's time to challenge the reasons why we travel so much and imagine a cleaner transportation sector!

Key Fact

Transportation represents 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

 Source Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Some Ideas for Climate

In Indian cities, auto-rickshaws emit one-tenth of CO2 emissions, which is why Three Wheels United developed financial services to help drivers switch to electric vehicles. Electromobility is also booming in Spain where the network of charging stations is being expanded at a very fast pace. Italy, its neighbour country, shares this goal of greening transportation infrastructures through the startup GreenRail which is turning end-of-life tires into railway sleepers.

Expert Insight

Coalitions of a decarbonized society

One of the defining tasks of our time is to create prosperity while decreasing greenhouse emissions. Progress is underway, but the scale and pace of the changes we see around the world are insufficient. As emissions graphs show, the world is still carbonizing. And yet the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report says that being bolder about climate action — limiting warming to 1.5°C instead of 2°C — is doable, and would save millions of lives. In Latin America, for instance, limiting global warming to 1.5°C would help to prevent 3.3 million cases of dengue fever each year compared to a 3.7°C scenario.

Read more

Monica Araya, Vice President of Costa Rica’s Electric Mobility Association & Founder of the grassroots association Costa Rica Limpia

Expert Insight 

The New Perspectives of Mobility

Beware of appearances; we are barely starting to transform the transportation sector. And it is a good thing because its challenges are enormous. They include the non-compliance with air quality standards set by the European Commission, the manufacturers' NOx emissions fraud in the DieselGate scandal, the fact that the sector is the largest CO2 emitter, its dependence on oil and multiple forms of exclusion, especially outside big urban centres.

Gabriel Plassat, director of La Fabrique des mobilités

How about green finance ?

Worldwide, while the frequency of financial transactions keeps accelerating, the share of green finance is also on the rise. According to the UNFCCC, global green bond issuance is set to grow by 60% to USD 250 billion in 2018. At their level, companies are developing tools to boost investments for climate adaptation and mitigation.

Key Fact

Over 1,300 companies with a total annual revenue of about US$7 trillion are currently using an internal price on carbon or plan to do so within the next two years.

 Source Carbon Pricing Dashboard (World Bank)

Some Ideas for Climate

In Brazil, some companies are actively investing in reforestation projects to preserve the Amazon rainforest. Europe is preparing a bright future for green investments: the Bank of Luxembourg inaugurated in 2016 the Luxembourg Green Exchange, the first financial platform exclusively dedicated to green bonds. In France, the internal price on carbon is being implemented by a growing number of companies, but a question remains: how to value a ton of CO2?

Expert Insight 

Is blended finance the answer to scale-up green infrastructure?

Given the political will, the availability of clean technologies and investors’ growing interest in “green projects”, why are so few of them being implemented? One of two reasons behind this “market failure” is the lack of bankable projects. Simply put, not enough projects are meeting the expectations of potential investors. This problem comes from the limited degree of collaboration, understanding and interconnection between the actors involved the length of the project development and financing value chain. 

John Tidmarsh, Chief Investment Officer, Regions 20

Business Insight 

From neutral finance to positive impact finance

Between the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, the international community has called on everyone to take action on climate change. High-impact climate projects are launched every day, but there are still financial barriers to scaling them up. In order to overcome these barriers, three revolutions need to take place in the financial universe: a paradigm one, a method one and an accounting one.

Antoine Sire, Director of Corporate Engagement, BNP Paribas

*This section has been produced with the support of ENGIE, TOTAL, UNILEVER, SUEZ, BNPP.

How about circular economy ?

The current take-make-dispose industrial model has shown its limits both economically and environmentally. 95% of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80-120 billion annually, is lost to the economy. The circular economy is a tremendous opportunity to generate economic benefits while addressing climate change. Let's dive into this fascinating paradigm shift!

Key Fact

Adopting circular-economy principles in Europe could generate a net economic benefit of €1.8 trillion by 2030. 

Source McKinsey & Company

Some Ideas for Climate

In Mexico, several companies are tackling the challenge of end-of-life tires in a country with 40 million used tires in the country. Their compatriot Ecodom offers affordable and resistant homes through plastic waste. Plastic waste is an incredible resource: the Burkina-Faso based enterprise TECO2 is specialised in its transformation insulating roofs for African homes. A vector of new economic opportunities, this circular model has everything to please, so much so that an Italian foundation has made a mapping on the national territory.

Expert Insight 

From waste to resource: the magic trick of circular economy

By 2050, we will be 10 billion people on the planet. Taking into consideration the growing scarcity of natural resources like fresh water, oil or copper, one could ask: how will businesses survive? How will we survive? The good news is: we already have the solutions. Our current economic model is linear. It means ...

Matthieu Witvoet & Raphaël Masvigner, Circular Economy booster & Co-Founder of Circul'R

Business Insight 

Circular economy solutions will lead tomorrow’s world

This economic model represents a different way of being and behaving. It implies that all industries connect and share resources and information like never before. Plastic recycling for instance brings together the chemistry industry, the bottling industry, the oil industry, and of course end-consumers who have both to drive the offer by their buying behaviour and are key players in the increase of waste sorting.

Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of SUEZ

*This section has been produced with the support of ENGIE, TOTAL, UNILEVER, SUEZ, BNPP.

This page was created as part of the media operation Solutions&Co, supported by the Solar Impulse Foundation, Global Compact France, Suez, ENGIE, BNP Paribas, and Total.