August 27, 2021 - 5 minutes read

COP26-Business Participation

By Acha Ouma

No continent, country or community is immune from impacts of climate crisis as was made clear in the Lancet Countdown Report of 2020. There will be a CoP26, United Nations Climate Change Conference that will go a long way in helping governments and companies further their sustainability agenda between the 1st and 12th of November. More than 190 world leaders will participate, along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for 12 days of sustainability talks.

 

The Cop26 in November is the first since the 2020 deadline for many parts of the Paris Climate Agreement adopted by 196 countries and territories in CoP21 back in 2015. For the private sector, the conference provides an opportunity to support the national government in meeting their Nationally Determined Contributions(NDCs), demonstrate industry leadership and engage with key stakeholders. Private companies should make a point of having such engagements that steer towards the Cop26 agenda before November.

 

The world faces the threat of becoming uninhabitable which eventually spills over to businesses if we do not do something about climate change and its impacts and put in more efforts towards the sustainability agenda. Cop26 matters and should matter to businesses for various reasons:

  1. The conference will drive consumer behaviour and business revenues

Consumers are increasingly aware of the climate crisis and are more drawn to businesses that have sustainability as part of their business. A company’s sustainability model or lack thereof is of great influence to consumer expectations and demands.

  1. The conference will encourage innovation

The sustainability agenda means an open space for new and creative ideas for more sustainable output.

  1. It will raise paradigm shifts and spearhead changes in green finance.

More capital will flow in the direction of companies with sustainable models as investors are attracted to greener companies.

  1. The conference will encourage dynamic talent

Not only are clients, consumers and investors attracted to companies that respect and participate in the sustainable agenda but also keeps and attracts driven employees.

 

Businesses have an opportunity to create value and grow revenues by responding to the sustainability agenda. Some businesses such as EABL are already differentiating themselves by committing to the lowering of carbon emissions, others such as KCB have also committed to Net zero emissions through the signing of the Principles of Responsible Banking which also commits to the Paris Agreement. This is likely to be driven as an agenda in CoP26 and even past the conference.

When speaking of climate change, Bill Gates said “Countries that nurture the most innovation in this field will be next to home in the next generation of breakthrough companies.” Companies that follow the CoP26 Conference will have a competitive edge against others thanks to the vast knowledge that will be shared and garnered on sustainability. Engaging around CoP26 shows that your business is in light of the impact of climate change and commits to be part of the solution.

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