5 methods companies can champion local weather adaptation and nature-based options
Climate adaptation and nature-based solutions are two of the focus areas of COP26. Once the negotiations are over, the private sector will play a key role in accelerating action on the ground, and in this post we examine how.
Pictured: Coastal Erosion Threatened Infrastructure in Yorkshire
These top tips come from the expert panels of speakers hosted by edie at the recent Nature-Based Solutions and Climate Adaptation Inspiration sessions, which will be held on Thursday, November 9th. COP26 focus week of exclusive content and events.
That afternoon, expert speakers from Unilever, the FAIRR Initiative, the Woodland Trust, Springwise, Nomad Foods, The Ocean Race, Grosvenor and Thakeham provided the inspiration and information companies need to address climate and nature responses to the extent required by science and deliver pace.
The sessions can now be viewed on-demand for free by clicking here. For those short on time, however, this feature sums up five of the speaker’s key pieces of advice in a short summary.
—— CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SESSIONS ON-DEMAND —-
1) Set strategic priorities for climate and nature
Throughout the afternoon, the speakers emphasized the importance of going beyond the provision of individual projects and not just setting time-bound, numerical goals, but also ensuring that holistic measures on climate and nature are part of the overarching organizational strategy.
Unilever Purchasing Manager Dave Ingram details how the company developed its “Climate Change Action Plan”, which is driven by a goal of moving to a net-zero business by 2039 and taking action to innovate bio-based products and help suppliers reduce water use and Implementation of regenerative practices includes.
Likewise the Senior Development Manager at Grosvenor Ed Green spoke about the creation of the company’s “Green Goals” in 2019, which also include “appreciating nature”. He renounced the need to change the culture, rethink KPIs, develop team-specific roadmaps, redesign innovations and forge new collaborations.
In short, at a time when greenwashing is increasingly being called for by stakeholders from investors to consumers – and the window of opportunity for action to avoid the worst effects of the crisis is quickly closing – one-off projects will not be enough.
“Nature has to sit at the meeting table and be fundamental to the business model,” says the co-founder of Springwise and Re_Set James Bidwell summarized. “It’s not there at the moment. We are moving from a phase of reduction to regeneration. ”
2) Be ready to translate the challenges and opportunities
So that climate adaptation and nature-based solutions can really be embedded at the strategy level, the approval of the executives is of course required. While speakers agreed that there is growing awareness of the intertwining of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, they acknowledged that scientific or moral imperatives alone cannot compel every leader.
One possible way to articulate the problem is to use the language of risk. Bidwell argued that concerns about how much projects cost upfront could be allayed by increasing the “enormous cost of inaction.” According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), $ 44 trillion – more than half of global GDP – is exposed to natural loss risks. Similar research by WWF found that natural loss will cost the global economy at least £ 8 trillion by 2050 without transformative measures.
Bidwell’s view was shared by the FAIRR Initiative Policy Director Helena Wright and Ingram at Unilever, who revealed that the company strives to calculate the cost of inaction as well as project delivery in each case. The risks he addresses include crop prices and availability as well as reputational risks with consumers.
But the speakers also urged the audience to consider both the benefits and the risks. Bidwell said; We are now seeing companies increasing competitive advantage, growth, profitability and resilience. “
3) Don’t be afraid to dig deeper (metaphorically speaking)
The early 2020s proved to be the perfect storm for raising awareness about climate resilience and nature. The United Nations Biodiversity Framework for the post-2020 period is under development; important new scientific reports have been produced; Lockdown restrictions caused many to spend more time in nature; Extreme weather events, which have become more likely due to the climate crisis, have left only a few regions untouched.
In this context, says Ingram of Unilever, it is time to “go beyond open questions and really get into the details” in order to turn ambitions into science-based measures that also generate benefits for society.
Resilience and biodiversity are notoriously difficult to measure, but the speakers touched on a variety of metrics that could be useful here. These include the Biodiversity 3.0 metric developed by Natural England; the Shannon Index of Biodiversity; the Hulbert index and the KPIs of the WWF. The recommendations of the Task Force on Nature-Related Disclosures are also due shortly.
Companies without in-house know-how may have to invest in training, recruitment or working with a specialist consulting partner. In addition, companies would do well to work with organizations familiar with the local context of their projects to maximize local benefits and ensure a just transition. Grosvenor’s Green advised viewers to broaden their definition of community, commit to long-term partnerships, and back them up with measurable short-term goals to build trust and maximize positive outcomes.
4) Follow up and disclose progress
Much has been said in recent weeks about the potential pitfalls of carbon removal projects – both nature-based and human-based. Of particular concern is the fact that not all projects are delivering the removal rate projected by their vendors. This can happen with tree-planting programs when the wrong species are placed in the wrong areas, or when carbon is taken into account right after the sapling is planted, without considering potential problems in the tree’s later life.
As a result, the speakers received several questions to monitor progress on a regular basis.
Speakers, including Nomad Foods’ UK and Italy Agricultural Manager, James Hopwood, and Thakeham’s Sustainability Director, Josie Thornewill, emphasized the importance of strong partnerships for continuous data collection and the rapid resolution of potential challenges.
Nomad Foods works towards a positive impact on nature in its vegetable growing. Hopwood explained how the company is working with suppliers to digitally collect data on topics such as soil health, water management and weed management.
At Thankeham, the company works with partners such as the Surrey Wildlife Trust on reviews. Thornewill advocated embedding good management in KPIs for executives to ensure continuous prioritization.
“The requirement for CO2 compensation management is 60 years, but for biodiversity it is only 30,” explained Thornewill. “We don’t think that’s good enough; we should look at 60 to 80 years of management … it’s not as easy as it sounds, you probably have to train the management company quite a bit. “
5) Participate in domestic politics and international diplomacy
As nations struggled to deliver their first crisis responses to Covid-19 in the first half of 2020, companies were increasingly scrutinized as to how they were using – or not using – their leverage, infrastructure, and financial clout to help society . Increasingly, the headlines focused not only on worker protection but also on lobbying and investing, both of which could be described as a company’s “Scope X” impact.
With COP26 approaching, the panelists recognized during the session the importance of companies not only preparing for their own side events and announcements, but also speaking with a unified voice to policy makers. Issues raised include pushing for nationally set 1.5C contributions to the Paris Agreement and ensuring that the G7 delivers on its $ 100 billion annual pledge of climate finance for developing countries.
However, questions were also raised to which the panelists agreed that the private sector alone cannot provide answers. These topics include nationally or internationally agreed standards for measuring environmental losses and gains and preventing cheap products from overseas from undercutting the domestic market in countries with weaker climatic or natural obligations.
—— CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SESSIONS ON-DEMAND —–