Insights

If you are in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent ― Warren Buffett

November 2, 2021

So, what has climate change got to do with the Private Sector, making profits, and satisfying shareholders? Well, I think the Finance guru Warren Buffett has an idea, and it links to a ‘perhaps’ more environmentally appropriate quote, "Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." He was of course talking about investment strategy being a long-term work of thought and patience. But it does make you think about the Private Sector approach to their impact on the environment.

It seems a long while ago now, since “The Paris Climate Accord”, which was hailed as a ground-breaking step in the global approach to climate change. So, forgive the brief look back to L’Accord, which is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, signed in 2016. The agreement's language was negotiated by representatives of 196 states at the 21st Conference of the Parties in Le Bourget, near Paris.

Under the Paris Agreement, the promise was made that “each country must determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution that it undertakes to mitigate global warming. No mechanism forces a country to set a specific emissions target by a specific date, but each target should go beyond previously set targets.

Of course, the capitalist mindset for tackling the climate challenges spawned the Carbon Credit, or Carbon Offset approach, where a financial penalty for polluting could be managed between those who did, and did not pollute the world. The drawback being you need money to make the thing right. This has led to cries of hypocrisy, with discussion on whether it is OK to fly to a climate conference, or as some high-profile celebrities have found, turn up to a climate demonstration in the UK, from Los Angeles in the USA, was this really “the pot calling the kettle black” in terms of environmental impact.

However, the UK Government published its “Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution” in November 2020. This document is part of the Government’s response to set out broad targets, but also produce “a plan” as referenced in the Paris Accord. In time for the UK to host and be president for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow between 31 October – 12 November 2021. The stated aim being to “bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework”. We will doubtless see more commitments and targets being set by ministers and secretaries of state for various countries.

The government’s current 10-point plan sets out the first steps on that journey.

So, what has this to do with the private sector?

Under Point 10 - Green Finance and Innovation, it states:

“We will harness the international reputation of the UK’s world leading financial sector, to encourage private investment into supporting innovation and manage climate financial risk. In line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), we intend to introduce mandatory reporting of climate-related financial information across the economy by 2025, with a significant portion of mandatory requirements in place by 2023.

And also, “We will position the UK, and the City of London, as a leader in the global voluntary carbon markets.”

So, it is clear that the reporting of the Carbon impact of a private company, or institution, will need to be reflected in their annual accounts each year. By implication, any ‘excess’ emissions may be offset in the ‘voluntary carbon market’.

So how will organisations first assess, and then develop a plan to address or reduce their carbon offset exposure? Can you really “buy yourself out” of your impact, when your customers and shareholders and society at large expect you to be carbon neutral, or at least be doing the least harm as possible?

Primarily the private sector is measured by its assets, but we at EventMAP know that these assets can quickly become liabilities, especially when we are talking about property portfolios. We have worked with a wide range of private sector organisations, and we can help you to achieve reputational and fiscal targets by understanding your data:

  • By increasing office utilisation and reducing Carbon exposure either by supplying software products alone, or by supportive consulting services
  • By building a data based Real Estate Strategy, in order to capture current use, and plan for the future
  • By Scenario modelling as a basis of an Estate strategy to discover the ‘art of the possible,’ and then plan the way to delivery and reduced emissions
  • By using data on buildings, people and space use to plan the long term need for the property portfolio in the ‘new normal’ ways of working post pandemic

We have proved, “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.” - Richard Buckminster Fuller.

So, we would love to help you deliver for the 99% of humanity Warren Buffett refers to, even if you are not part of the luckiest 1%.

Or put another way:

“If success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do... HOW WOULD I BE? WHAT WOULD I DO?” - Richard Buckminister Fuller

If you would like to know more about some of the work we have been involved with, just visit our website and email us.

Peter Jones – Associate Director

EventMAP

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