How Businesses Can Tap into the 1.5°C Business Playbook

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

On January 21, 2020, the first Business Playbook for exponential action on climate change was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It was a rallying call for companies to set incisive climate goals and set up a strategy throughout their production chain to meet the objective to reduce global warming to 1.5°C.

The Playbook, produced by primary experts and company stakeholders, provides a structure for businesses to quickly reach net-zero emissions. That can be achieved by adopting an exponential trajectory of halving greenhouse gas emissions every decade to approach net-zero by 2050. That requires companies to incorporate climate action in their business strategy.

The policy is supported by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Ericsson, IKEA, Scania, Telia Company, WWF, Skanska, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research and many additional partners and contributors.

The Playbook is based on the latest science and focuses on “simplicity and speed.” It is designed to “work in harmony with existing standards and key initiatives such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG), Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), CDP, RE100, Mission Innovation’s 1.5°C Avoided Emissions Framework and the Chambers Climate Coalition.” (p. 4)

Below, we’ll look at the various pillars outlined in the Playbook for climate management.

Pillar 1: Reduce your emissions

Emission reduction targets should align with climate science. That should start with a minimum 50% decrease in carbon emissions from company activities in the next ten years. These include discharges from sources such as furnaces and vehicles and electricity, cooling, and heating purchases. Work trips should also be included in this pillar. 

One way to effectively reduce emissions from work trips is the possibility of virtual meetings becoming an integral part of our working lives. In addition, the remote working culture developed due to the COVID-19 pandemic has indicated that we can effectively reduce the need for many kinds of business travel.

For this pillar to be achieved, companies need to:

  • Quantify their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Decide on their reference year for the mitigation pledge and set an official goal.
  • Decide on which arrangement to eradicate emissions and set up a strategy on how to attain goals. 
  • Be transparent and reveal your company’s carbon emissions, plans to decrease them, and emissions reductions as part of your public data yearly. 
  • Monitor their emissions using the right emission monitoring technology. For industrial businesses, that could include continuous emissions monitoring systems.

Pillar 2: Reduce your value chain emissions

Production chain emissions include all external emissions, including uphill activities, such as suppliers’ dealings, and downhill activities, such as sold products. They usually show the largest share of a company’s total footprint.

Companies need to work eagerly to reduce production chain emissions. This can be done in various ways. Examples include purchasing instructions and supplier guideline standards, modifications in the design of products, and partnerships with suppliers and consumers.

For this pillar to be achieved, companies need to;

  • Organize their carbon emissions related to their production chain to understand the most important and regularly monitor them. Source testing can be an important part of this process.
  • Within the first year, set a target for the first halving of absolute production chain emissions.
  • Decide to reduce carbon emissions and set up a plan on how to reach the goals.
  • Be transparent here as well. For example, reveal production chain emissions and plans to reduce them as part of your public data yearly.

Pillar 3: Integrate climate into your business strategy

Many industries must be radically restructured to attain a 1.5°C goal. This will need business models to be changed to create new channels of revenue to promote novelty. Company stakeholders can begin by organizing a net-zero future for their companies.  

Some examples include creating new fossil-free substances and embracing renewable energy remedies and electric automobiles. For this pillar to be achieved, companies need to;

  • Revise and reform their mission statement, vision, and your vision, mission statement, strategy, and procedures to indicate their climate obligation.
  • Modify their portfolio to find solutions that would aid their customers to sidestep emissions and measure these solutions exponentially.
  • Incorporate their climate policies in their services and products to ensure that the new solutions are in accordance with the 1.5°C ambition.
  • Take into account the cost associated with carbon to add climate as a significant part of investment proceedings.

Pillar 4: Influence climate action in society

Climate stakeholders must use their company links and stamping grounds to facilitate climate action. This can be done by swaying and working with various customers, suppliers, governments, and NGOs.

An example of this is the Race to Zero campaign organized by the UNCC, which has mobilized “a coalition of leading net zero initiatives, representing 733 cities, 31 regions, 3,067 businesses, 173 of the biggest investors 622 Higher Education Institutions”.These actors have joined in the largest-ever alliance formed to attain net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

For this pillar to be achieved, companies need to;

  • Work together with suppliers and customers to facilitate innovative automation and sustainable modifications of production chains.
  • Persuade local and national policymakers to create climate action and policies in accordance with a 1.5°C ambition.
  • Incorporate a 1.5°C climate obligation in general public affairs and corporate strategies, including those associated with financial investments.

The Parting Gift

For businesses to thrive in this new age, stakeholders need to embrace the various policies outlined in the playbook. By utilizing the four pillars from the playbook, companies can be climate gurus, become flexible, promote innovation and promote business growth simultaneously. 

As much as some companies do not have enough resources to facilitate these policies, everyone just needs to start their journey. You don’t need to have things in place to start. These pillars would not work with only a few stakeholders—every company needs to get involved in achieving net-zero.