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    Oct 2021
    Written by Louise Nichols

    COP26: Why does this matter for your business?

    COP26 is a pivotal moment at a time of global urgency to address climate change. This article explores why your business should be paying attention to COP26 and biodiversity.


    You might have heard โ€œCOP26โ€ in the news, but what is it? And why does it matter for your business?

    COP26 is a 13-day summit commencing on 31 October 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Hosted by the UK government in partnership with Italy, this will be the 26th annual meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Some 190 world leaders and 36,000 delegates, alongside climate experts, negotiators, businesses, campaigners and citizens will aim to accelerate action on halting climate change. While all the COP events are important, COP26 is a pivotal moment at a time of global urgency to address climate change.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) โ€œcode red for humanityโ€ report outlines how humans have unequivocally altered the planet with global surface temperature rises and have distorted the Earthโ€™s natural ecosystem processes. The report stated that to meet the 1.5 degree warming limit of the Paris Agreement and to avoid potentially irreversible harm to our planet, we will require urgent and ambitious action. At COP26, countries are expected to present their new nationally determined contributions (NDC) which are their plans to help limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees. COP26 is seen as the biggest climate event since the Paris Agreement came out of COP21, and is one of the last chances to slow global warming.

    Hitting these targets will require rapid transformational change and collaboration between countries, governments, businesses, civil society and those at the front lines of the climate crisis. Regardless of the exact outcomes of the conference, businesses will be impacted significantly. COP26 is expected to result in new laws and rules to which businesses must adhere. COP26 and the UN biodiversity conference COP15 are opportunities for businesses to collaborate with governments and wider society to gain a competitive advantage. COP26 should act as an incentive for businesses to set standards regarding climate change and to integrate changes within corporate strategy, governance, finance and operations. The summit is expected to turbocharge the green market and enhance consumer demands for businesses to do more to reduce their contributions to climate change and biodiversity loss.

    Climate change is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. However, simply achieving the Paris targets for limiting global temperature rise will not turn the tide on the loss of biodiversity that supports us all. Biodiversity loss and climate change are twin crises that need to be addressed together. Biodiversity loss could have a range of impacts on your business, from the materials or equipment you use and the water involved in key processes to the food you feed your staff. Not only can the loss of biodiversity disrupt supply chains and create a scarcity of some materials, but it is also becoming a key consumer issue and failure to consider biodiversity will result in reputational damage.

    The hope is that COP26 will kickstart transformational activity around the world to reduce carbon emissions. While you are changing your corporate strategy, governance, finance and operations to reduce your carbon footprint, seize this opportunity to incorporate biodiversity into your plans.


    How can Nature Positive help?

    At Nature Positive, we provide specialist sustainability consultancy services to help you understand your specific link to nature. Together, our team helps you to quantify your dependence on nature and reshape your strategy and operations to unlock the commercial benefits of a nature-positive approach. In the run up to COP26, we are focusing on helping businesses to identify how they can both help address the climate crisis and promote biodiversity. To find out more about the specific services we offer, please visit our services page or contact our team directly.

    *Photo by Stephen O’Donnell on Unsplash