The UN’s Climate Conference is generally considered the most influential climate gathering.
COP21 in 2015 facilitated the Paris Agreement, where 195 countries committed to keeping global temperatures below the climate tipping point of 2 degrees Celsius.
Last year’s conference, COP 25, ended with disappointment, as countries could not agree to heightened carbon reduction plans, climate impact compensation, or a more ambitious international carbon trading market.
Due to the impasse, the issues were pushed off until this year’s conference, COP26. However, it is clear that the pressure is on, and the risks of inaction are mounting.
Leading up to COP26, several announcements are setting precedents for climate action.
- The UK has announced a Plastics Tax that will go into effect on April 1, 2022.
- The Science Based Targets Initiative rolled out a Net-Zero Standard.
- After the US withdrew from the Paris Agreement in 2020, the CEOs of 75 companies supported the US to maintain their participation.
- In the past two years, climate investment has hit record highs.
So What Can Companies Expect from COP26
Suppose the Science Based Targets Initiative’s Net-Zero Standard is a precursor for what’s to come. Then brands’ climate commitments will need to be standardized, actionable, comprehensive, and define short-term goals to achieve the 1.5-degree Celsius target.
Plastic Pollution is entering the limelight due to the vital role plastics reduction will play in decarbonization. A recent report found that plastics manufacturing will overtake the greenhouse gas emissions from coal by 2030.
Break free from Plastic’s latest report on the highest polluting companies is stressing a call for companies to reveal their plastic footprints, reduce virgin plastic production, and redesign their packaging.
The recent momentum and announcements show the necessity of holistic analysis of entire supply chains: manufacturing, shipping, packaging, etc. The pressure is on to compensate for emissions and set an actionable strategy to reduce and redesign.
Setting actionable goals and taking reduction seriously may be essential to minimizing risk. The COP26 agenda indicates the potential for a new, more ambitious carbon trading market and governments pursuing aggressive policies to decarbonize. Companies may need to consider the possibilities of impending market-based climate solutions (carbon and plastic taxes).
We will keep you in the loop as the conference unfolds. Still, it has become clear that companies taking the lead to advocate for impactful policies can establish themselves as leaders in this impending paradigm shift.