Eight Ways To Be A Climate Leader

Posted on: September 2nd, 2019 by Climate Leadership Conference

 

We have just over a decade to act in order to avoid the worst possible effects of climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This summer alone, we have experienced extreme weather events that climate change is making stronger and more frequent, from relentless flooding in the Midwest to dangerous heatwaves worldwide. To reverse course, the IPCC calls for a global transformation, which begins with drastically cutting our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally.

Business leaders are aware of the threats that climate change poses for their operations, their supply chains, and the economy as a whole. They also recognize that climate change presents new economic opportunity – a chance to innovate technologies and create more sustainable business models. These opportunities are encouraging a growing number of businesses to set emissions reduction goals, develop strategies for carbon neutrality, and support legislation that addresses climate change.

These actions deserve recognition. The Climate Leadership Awards is a national awards program that recognizes exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in response to climate change. Presented by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR), these awards have recognized over 170 renowned organizations, such as Microsoft, UPS, PepsiCo, Honda, Procter & Gamble, and the City and County of San Francisco.

Over the past eight years, this awards program has shone a spotlight on what it takes to be a climate leader. Based on our previous experience reviewing applications and with the help of some of our past winners, we have put together a list of the top eight lessons and tips.

Applications for the 2020 Climate Leadership Awards are being accepted until September 27, 2019. The winners will be announced during an inspiring awards ceremony at this year’s Climate Leadership Conference, which takes place from March 4-6 in Detroit, Michigan.

  1. 1. Set a science-based target on climate change (from Ashley Allen, Climate and Land Senior Manager at Mars, Incorporated). Many companies are setting science-based targets for GHG emissions reductions. This ensures their targets are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.In 2017, Mars, Incorporated set science-based targets of reducing their value chain emissions – including Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions – by 27 percent by 2025 and 67 percent by 2050. Setting and progressing toward those targets were central to Mars, Inc.’s successful 2019 Climate Leadership Awards applications – they were a winner in the Organizational Leadership and Supply Chain Leadership categories.
  2. 2. Collaborate with partners on projects that will provide mutual benefits (from Annika Swenson, Sustainability Analyst, Honda). Many companies are joining forces to address climate change in order to make a greater impact. The Climate Leadership Awards include a special category to recognize these partnerships. In 2019, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. won an Innovative Partnership Certificate for creating the Honda Environmental Leadership Program, which helps participating Honda and Acura dealerships identify and implement measurable energy-efficiency improvements.More than 800 dealerships are voluntarily participating in the program. These dealerships have collectively reduced their CO2 emissions by about 59,000 metric tons and achieved financial savings of $12.8 million. “Our Environmental Leadership Program not only helps us reduce the environmental impact of our operations, but it saves our dealers money,” says Swenson. "It’s a win-win."
  3. 3. Pool resources to innovate new technologies (from Noora Singh, Director, Global Sustainability, PepsiCo, Inc.). Addressing climate change requires big ideas and collaboration. For a global company, that can mean working with competitors to develop solutions that will benefit an entire industry. In 2018, PepsiCo joined the NaturAll Bottle Alliance with Danone, Nestlé Waters and bio-based materials development company, Origin Materials, to accelerate the development of innovative packaging solutions made with sustainable and renewable resources.PepsiCo also joined forces with Nestle in Thailand on sustainable and responsible cane sugar practices, and partnered with Danimer Scientific to develop biodegradable film resins. Those were some of the actions that earned PepsiCo an Organizational Leadership Award and Supply Chain Leadership Award as part of the 2019 Climate Leadership Awards.
  4. 4. Address supply chain emissions. The next wave of climate leaders is reducing GHG emissions from the entire value chain (i.e., beyond those associated with their direct operations and electricity usage). For many organizations, Scope 3 emissions are up to four times greater than operational emissions. Engaging suppliers in emissions reduction and efficiency improvements can be an important pillar of a company’s climate strategy. Companies that are innovating and developing new strategies in their supply chains are the type of leaders we seek to acknowledge with our Supply Chain Leadership Award.
  5. 5. Set ambitious targets and publicly report on progress. Setting ambitious, transparent and measurable climate goals can help guide organizational priorities and investment, and demonstrate to stakeholders that your organization is taking climate action seriously. The GHG Goal Setting and Goal Achievement awards are designed to recognize organizations that are setting impressive goals, publicly tracking progress through a verified GHG inventory disclosures, and achieving these goals. Science-based targets are strongly encouraged, although not required, for the Climate Leadership Awards program.
  6. 6. Align corporate actions with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More and more leading organizations are aligning their sustainability efforts with the UN SDGs. Among the 17 goals is a specific goal on climate action; however, many of the goals are symbiotic, such as making cities and communities sustainable and ensuring access to clean, affordable energy. Organizations focused on achieving the UN SDGs assess their strategic capabilities and work to align their sustainability and climate change efforts in ways that are transformative and help to build a stronger workforce, more resilient communities and a sustainable economy.
  7. 7. Leverage high-quality data to measure progress and drive results (from Doug Huxley, Principal Technologist, Jacobs). At Jacobs, a publicly traded engineering and consulting firm, more than 80 percent of their Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions was from office energy use. Since the vast majority of their office space is leased without the capability for submetering, they assumed there was little they could do to document the benefits of their energy conservation programs. However, by using sophisticated data-gathering strategies, Jacobs was able to accurately and transparently account for GHG emissions and document substantial reductions through the minimization of empty office space. That helped Jacobs win an Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Achievement Award) in 2019. “Going forward, we believe we can reduce emissions even further by being more assertive in demanding better data, and insisting on efficient buildings and renewable energy supplies for the spaces we lease,” says Huxley.
  8. 8. Inspire others to take action. Effective climate action will require coalitions of stakeholders that support efforts to move beyond the status quo. This includes engaging more actively with policymakers. While the actions of corporations and organizations to reduce emissions are essential if we’re going to meet climate targets, recent C2ES research has highlighted the importance of policy support for deep decarbonization. Organizations willing to work on building bipartisan support for climate action will help strengthen the foundation for comprehensive long-term solutions.

 

 

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By Holden Slattery, The Climate Registry; and Nancy Meyer, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

Mark Your Calendar

Posted on: July 26th, 2019 by Climate Leadership Conference

 

We're thrilled to announce that the 2020 Climate Leadership Conference (CLC) is coming to Detroit's historic Westin Book Cadillac Hotel! Now in its ninth year, this celebrated event gathers influential sustainability professionals from across the economy to learn, inspire, and engage with a community of change-makers who are leading the way on climate action. It is with a shared sense of urgency to avert the worst effects of climate change that we look forward to collaborating with you in Detroit.

Don't miss the annual Climate Leadership Conference, where sustainability professionals from around the globe convene to address climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions. Registration will open this fall.

IBM Wins a 7th Climate Leadership Award

Posted on: March 22nd, 2019 by IBM

 

IBM is honored to have received its seventh Climate Leadership Award, and its second award in the Goal Setting category. This award recognizes the company’s 4th generation CO2 reduction goal, and an accompanying second generation renewable energy procurement goal.

As we conclude the 8th Climate Leadership Conference and address the need to accelerate actions to limit global warming, we remind ourselves of the important role that businesses have to implement or facilitate real, tangible operational changes that deliver scope 1 emissions reductions. The ability of businesses to set and meet meaningful GHG emissions reduction goals requires innovation and action across each business’ core capabilities. For IBM these are its internal operations; the products, solutions and services it offers to clients; and its research and development expertise.

Operations
Operational efficiency and energy conservation are at the core of IBM’s efforts to reduce its GHG emissions. Avoiding the consumption of energy is the best method available to reduce GHG emissions. IBM has a long history of implementing energy conservation and efficiency projects in its operations, with a corporate-wide, energy conservation goal in place since 1996. From 2013 to 2017, the period of its third generation CO2 reduction goal, IBM reduced or avoided 1,600,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of annual energy consumption, an annualized 6% reduction and avoidance, while saving $139,000,000 in annual operating expenses. These reductions were achieved through a strong focus on the efficiency of our IT infrastructure, the use of automated system management software to improve the efficiency of our building infrastructure, and traditional energy conservation and efficiency projects like lighting upgrades to LEDs and improved time of day management of building HVAC systems. These savings are achieved through the dedicated efforts of the IBM energy management and data center and IT systems operations teams.

Solutions
IBM offers a range of products, services and solutions that enable its clients to make their operations more efficient and reduce their energy and GHG emissions footprints. The data center operations we host for our clients benefit from our operational energy reductions. Our server and storage products enable clients to execute more IT work with higher equipment utilization rates in a smaller equipment footprint. Our IT solutions and services -- based on data analytics, cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies -- provide clients with new insights into their operations. They also enable clients to make data-driven decisions toward conserving natural resources and energy and reducing the environmental impacts associated with their operations. The results of these efforts, spread across our global client base, extend the reach of our capabilities and technologies far beyond our own operations, contributing greater quantities in energy conserved and emissions reductions than those we achieve in our own operations.

Research and Development
IBM’s research labs have applied their extensive expertise in materials, data analytics and AI and other areas to develop technology to recycle plastics more efficiently; apply AI to water, renewable energy and farming productivity; and apply IoT and cognitive, cloud computing to identify methane leaks. These are just a few examples of current IBM research projects with applicability to environmental challenges.

We are proud of our heritage of environmental leadership. We are equally excited to work with our clients, partners like C2ES and The Climate Registry, and Climate Leadership Conference participants to drive new innovative approaches to energy efficiency, energy generation and delivery, electric vehicles and the hundreds of other transformations necessary to transition to a low carbon economy. Ultimately, we, as responsible businesses, must achieve reductions in scope 1 emissions to limit global warming.

By IBM – SPONSORED CONTENT

2020: USHERING IN AN ERA OF CLIMATE IMPLEMENTATION

Posted on: March 22nd, 2019 by Navigant

 

From 2015 to 2019 climate change action was characterized by raising ambition, setting targets, and sharing best practices. The new decade will transition from characterizing these actions, to implementing solutions and targeting specific climate goals. Through their experience with international clients, the Navigant Sustainability Solutions team has identified the following five emerging climate trends:

1. Science will be more rigorous and there will be less time to act
While current climate science restates what has been known for decades, the IPCC 1.5°C Special Report brought the urgency of climate change to the mainstream. Alexander Farsan, global lead for science-based targets at the World Wildlife Fund said, “The IPCC Special Report was a wake-up call for the global economy. There is an urgent need to step up ambition in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid devastating global warming.”

In response, the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is introducing major updates to help companies set greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets consistent with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement. This will limit average global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial temperatures.

  • New targets submitted for validation will only be accepted if they are consistent with limiting warming to well-below 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
  • Ambition level for all targets will be published on the SBTi website, and classified under one of three categories: 1.5°C, well-below 2°C, or 2°C.
  • By 2025, companies will be required to review, and if necessary revalidate, their targets every five years from the date of the original target approval.

2. Communities will work to avoid economic consequences and manage stability
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report indicated that in 2018 natural disasters cost the U.S. $91 billion, and, since 1980, the U.S. has sustained $1.6 trillion in losses due to natural disasters. Financial impacts from natural disasters are only expected to increase as evidenced by a United States Geological Survey report that states, "by the end of the century a typical storm could expose about $100 billion in property to damages," (this references California alone).

San Antonio Climate Ready is an exceptional example of community action, led by the City of San Antonio, CPS Energy, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Navigant. It is a draft climate action and adaptation plan that includes strategies for reducing the city’s emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and adapting to the effects of climate change. It is currently in public discussion. "While climate change is a global issue, the causes and effects are experienced at the local level," said City of San Antonio Chief Sustainability Officer Douglas Melnick. "The strategies outlined in this plan will have multiple benefits to our community’s quality of life, economic competitiveness, and resilience."

3. Investors will treat climate issues as fundamental issues
The world’s largest asset owners are transitioning their thinking around risk and encouraging long-term thinking about environmental, social, and governance issues. Following the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) Summit in early March 2019, 26 GABV members, with combined assets of $153 billion, committed to track and monitor the carbon impact of their portfolio and investments within three years.

Peter Blom, chair and co-founder of GABV said, "This enables [banks] to make financial decisions that limit the impact of the emissions of their financed assets, so they can keep their contribution within safe environmental levels, helping to safeguard the environment for future generations."

4. Buying clean energy will be cheaper, easier, and more common
As of October 2018, U.S. corporate buyers announced contracts for 4.81 gigawatts of renewable energy and are currently on pace to top five gigawatts by the end of this year. This sets the new single-year record for the U.S., surpassing the previous record of 3.12 gigawatts set in 2015.

As companies and cities continue to commit to 100% renewable energy goals and increase their renewable energy purchases, the opportunities will continue to expand, making the process cheaper and easier for others. At the end of 2018, Microsoft and REsurety announced the development of a Volume Firming Agreement (VFA) which serves to de-risk corporate purchasing power agreements.

5. Suppliers will follow the leaders
As large companies begin to hit target goals they will begin to ask suppliers to also be more sustainable, as already evidenced in notable supply chain initiatives including, Walmart’s Project Gigaton, CO2 Performance Ladder, and the CDP Climate Action Reserve. However, a couple key questions remain, will these yield results by 2030 and will this engagement motivate suppliers to change behavior without recognition and rewards?

Over the next decade, institutions will feel more internal and external pressure to go beyond setting targets. The changing climate is a serious concern, however, Navigant’s Sustainability Solutions team remains optimistic that subnational and non-state actors will step up, and respond to the significant problems while embracing new opportunities. We look forward to working alongside our clients during this important transition.

Discuss the trends that will help shape this new decade with our team at the Climate Leadership Conference in Baltimore.

By Associate Director Matthew Banks, Associate Director Danielle Vitoff, Associate Director Andrea Romano; Navigant – SPONSORED CONTENT

Top U.S. Organizations Recognized at the National Climate Leadership Awards

Posted on: March 21st, 2019 by Climate Leadership Conference

 

11 Organizations, Three Partnerships, and One Individual Win Top Honors

BALTIMORE — The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR), in partnership with headline sponsor Bloomberg Philanthropies, today announced the recipients of the 2019 Climate Leadership Awards. This year’s award winners include some of the country’s most well-known consumer brands, as well as organizations in the manufacturing, financial, technology and academic sectors.

The Awards, which take place during the annual Climate Leadership Conference, showcase and recognize exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in reducing carbon pollution and addressing climate change.

"The Climate Registry applauds the 2019 Climate Leadership Award winners for their outstanding dedication to climate action," said Ann McCabe, interim executive director of The Climate Registry. These organizations are part of an incredibly important group of leaders who are accelerating the shift to a more sustainable future. We hope that their ability to bring about change will inspire and empower others to act."

"The clean energy economy is coming, and these winners are taking bold action to be leaders in that new economy," said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. "The Climate Leadership Awards recognize the ambitious pacesetters who push the envelope. They take action because their customers and citizens demand it, because it’s good for business to seize on the clean energy economy, and because we can’t leave it for the next generation to solve."

"American businesses are proving that bottom-up climate action isn’t just possible – it’s happening right now," said Antha Williams, head of environment programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. "From innovations in energy efficiency to bold commitments to cut carbon emissions, the Climate Leadership Award winners highlight the potential for bottom-up climate action to drive progress towards our national climate goals and create sustainable jobs for a sustainable future."

The 2019 Climate Leadership Award recipients are:

Organizational Leadership Award:

  • Mars, Inc.: Improved land use change methods, including measures to more accurately assess emissions impacts; helped to launch the Renewable Thermal Collaborative to scale up renewable heating solutions globally; and participated in the launch of a new corporate leadership platform to diagnose business climate risk throughout the supply chain.
  • PepsiCo: Identified climate change as a material risk, identifying science-based target for reductions; assessed and disclosed climate-related risks; established a global program to reduce energy, water, and waste; purchased electric semi-trucks to improve efficiency; replaced vendor cooling equipment with efficient models; and implemented sustainable farming practices.
  • Schneider Electric: Committed to sustainable development goals through its core business; addressed supply chain by mapping end-to-end resource footprint to improve energy efficiency and target a zero waste to landfill goal; and digitized products and instituted opportunities for reuse, repair, and refurbishment.

Individual Leadership Award:

  • Nancy Sutley, Chief Sustainability Officer, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP): Led LADWP to a 42% reduction in greenhouse gases (GHGs), exceeding a 2030 California goal; initiated retrofits of the Los Angeles Aqueduct Filtration Plant for energy savings of approximately 55,000 kWh annually; and helped design the Mayor’s Sustainable City pLAn.

Supply Chain Award:

  • Cisco Systems, Inc.: Formalized a supply chain program to target reduced emissions; established a cross-functional management team to plan, monitor, and improve on GHG reduction strategies; and implemented scorecards to monitor suppliers’ performance.
  • Mars, Inc.: Developed a sustainable procurement strategy for raw material production; engage rice growers to adopt alternate irrigation approaches; and formed the Working on Cocoa Forests Initiative to eliminate deforestation.
  • PepsiCo: Reduced 2017 supply chain Scope 3 emissions by 2.1 million metric tons compared to 2015; contributed $10 million to The Recycling Partnership for GHG reductions and simplification of recycling; and sustainably source 34% of procured cane sugar.

Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management - Goal Achievement Award:

  • CH2M, now Jacobs: Reduced GHG emissions 29% from 2012 to 2017, exceeding a 25% goal; reduced vehicle idling time and fuel consumption; and constructed four LEED certified buildings at their Denver headquarters.
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.: Reduced GHG emissions 41% from 2007 to 2017, exceeding a 40% goal; optimized workspace to reduce energy use and GHG emissions; and manage a $50 million program for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management - Goal Setting Certificate:

  • Cisco Systems, Inc.: Set a third-generation goal for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions to reduce 60% of emissions from 2007 to 2022.
  • Comerica, Inc.: Set a short-term goal for 50% reduction by 2025, a medium-term goal for 65% by 2030; and long-term reduction goal of 100% by 2050, with a 2012 baseline.
  • Harvard University: Set university-wide goals to be fossil-fuel neutral by 2026 and fossil-fuel free by 2050.
  • IBM: Set a goal for 40% GHG reductions from 2005 to 2025, along with a complementary goal to increase renewable electricity procurement to 55%.
  • Mastercard: Set a goal of 20% reduction in GHG emissions from 2016 to 2025.
  • Microsoft Corporation: Set a goal of 75% reduction in GHG emissions from 2013 to 2030
  • Shire, now part of Takeda: Set a goal of 20% reduction in GHG emissions from 2016 to 2025

Innovative Partnership Certificate:

  • American Honda Motor Company: Recruited 800 dealerships for a program to help identify and implement energy efficiency improvements, achieving $12.8 million in savings and 59,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
  • Bank of America and American Forests: Developed data and action plans for cities to adapt urban forests for climate resilience, incentivizing preservation to maintain urban canopy; and increased coordination among urban forestry professionals.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Carbon Coalition: Opened electric vehicle charging systems to innovative financing from carbon capital markets through a new carbon offset methodology and monetized the benefits of the transition to EVs by securing incremental certified carbon credit revenues.

Since the inception of the Climate Leadership Awards and Conference in 2012, more than 130 recipients have been recognized for their climate action. More information on this year’s winners is available here: Link

About the Climate Leadership Conference: Hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore from March 20-22, 2019, the Climate Leadership Conference (CLC) addresses climate through policy, innovation, and business solutions. The CLC convenes around the Climate Leadership Awards and is presented by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry.

About The Climate Registry: The Climate Registry (TCR) is a non-profit organization governed by U.S. states and Canadian provinces and territories. TCR designs and operates voluntary and compliance GHG reporting programs globally, and assists organizations in measuring, reporting and verifying the carbon in their operations in order to manage and reduce it. TCR also spearheads innovative new projects such as the Water-Energy Nexus Registry. Find out more at www.theclimateregistry.org and follow on Twitter @theclimatereg.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies: Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

Contact: Marty Niland, 703-516-0600, press@climateleadershipconference.org
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The Good, The Bad and The Blind Spot of Corporate Sustainability Rankings

Posted on: March 20th, 2019 by Environmental Defense Fund

 

No matter the industry, business stakeholders care about lists – who’s on them and who’s on top. Consider this small sampling: Fast Company’s “50 Most Innovative Companies” list, Fortune’s “Change the World” list, Forbes’ “The World’s Most Reputable Companies” list, or Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work.”

Companies spend countless hours every year applying to appear on these lists, vying for the top spot and the ability to market that recognition to customers, investors, and employees. Just think, how many email signatures have you seen that end with “voted the best/most [fill in the blank] company for three years in a row”?

There are myriad psychological reasons why lists are so effective, popular and valuable. In the sustainability field, numerous rankings have emerged to help stakeholders assess corporate environmental performance and identify leaders from among the hundreds that have made environmental commitments.

Beyond bragging rights, sustainability rankings can also provide an essential service to companies by helping them define internal performance measures, attract top talent and link executive compensation to corporate sustainability.

Unfortunately, there’s a significant problem with thesdemandinability lists.

As a new report reveals, the vast majority don’t factor in corporate public policy advocacy – which is an essential element of sustainability leadership.

The urgency and magnitude of the climate challenge demands a much bigger response than cutting greenhouse gas emissions within a company’s facilities or even its entire supply chain. Only public policy can deliver the pace and scale of reductions necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, which is expected to cost the U.S. economy between $280-520+ billion annually by the end of the century.

By leaving out corporate lobbying activities, top-tier rankings provide stakeholders an incomplete picture of a company’s sustainability ambitions and performance. And because they neither recognize support for nor penalize opposition to climate policy, they don’t actually measure leadership.

As the co-founder and executive director of InfluenceMap notes, “Judging companies solely based on operational and product emissions is insufficient.” Or as the Harvard Business Review has noted, “Green ratings ought to include political transparency scores to get a fuller picture of corporate greenness.”

Why, then, does only one of the top corporate sustainability rankings recognize businesses for lobbying for pro-climate policies?

The short answer is a lack of transparency around lobbying activities, whether related to climate change or anything else.

Fortunately, this is starting to change. As shareholder resolutions demanding transparency on corporate lobbying activities continue to grow in number, so, too, will the opportunity for business leaders to show leadership by making sure their political activities match their sustainability rhetoric. This is also a key focus area of EDF’s involvement at this year’s Climate Leadership Conference.

In the meantime, ranking entities could improve transparency by recognizing or even requiring disclosure of corporate engagement in climate policy. This would enable ranking entities to give their audiences ‒ consumers, investors, employees and companies themselves ‒ a more complete picture of a company’s sustainability performance.

This is of course easier said than done, and many questions remain, such as how to evaluate and score lobbying activities consistently across rankings. The new report, The Blind Spot in Corporate Sustainability Rankings: Climate Policy Leadership, recommends that as a starting point, rankings entities ask companies questions drawn from the U.N. Global Compact Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy. The important thing is to begin collecting this information in some form.

The most powerful tool companies have to fight climate change is their political influence. Only when sustainability rankings reflect how companies are using that influence can they truly show what leadership in sustainability looks like. And that’s a list worth striving to be on.

By Austin Reagan & Victoria Mills, Environmental Defense Fund - SPONSORED CONTENT

Carbon Neutrality takes Centre Stage: a Framework for Action

Posted on: March 14th, 2019 by Natural Capital Partners

 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report published late in 2018 calls for a net zero economy by 2050 but the commitments to emission reductions made by countries under the Paris Agreement of 2015 leave a sizeable gap in where we need to get. Business action is critical, but what steps are corporates taking to deliver action and impact now while policymakers continue their discussions?

Microsoft’s internal carbon tax, UPS’ carbon neutral shipping option, and VMware reaching its carbon neutral goal two years ahead of schedule are just a few examples of companies leading the way on climate action through their carbon neutral commitments. But with time getting tight to meet the 1.5 degree target, carbon neutrality needs to extend beyond a group of inspirational leaders. Climate change risks are impacting businesses of all sizes and sectors, and the benefits from taking meaningful action now are available to all: reduced costs through operational efficiencies, meeting investor expectations, attracting and retaining talent, and building resilience in supply chains. Companies can make and meet carbon neutral targets today through internal reductions and financing of verified emission reductions.

To further uncover the application and impact of carbon neutrality in business, in 2018 Natural Capital Partners conducted a series of roundtable discussions through the UN’s Talanoa Dialogues. We convened 61 corporates, with revenues totaling over US $1.3 trillion, in seven events across the EU and the US, to explore how private sector commitments to net zero emissions will support higher ambition in the Paris Agreement.

Through the discussions we found that companies are increasingly using carbon neutrality to establish an internal price on carbon, to shift climate action from compliance or corporate responsibility responses to business strategy, and to earn the reputational benefits from delivering action and impact. To achieve these goals, successful carbon neutral strategies have focused on:

  • Reducing emissions through investments in internal efficiency measures that reduce costs and align with targets informed by climate science
  • Decarbonizing consumed electricity and gas by direct production or purchase of renewable energy and the retirement of energy attribute certificates (EACs)
  • Financing verified emission reduction projects, and aligning projects with specific business objectives, driving low carbon sustainable development, building resilience in supply chains and delivering impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Despite the range of benefits, making the commitment to start a carbon neutral program continues to be challenging for many. The CarbonNeutral Protocol sets the standards and criteria for companies to ensure their carbon neutral action is clear, transparent, of the highest quality, and aligns with current methodologies, such as the GHG Protocol. At its core, market-based carbon pricing gives a high degree of flexibility in finding cost-effective solutions to deliver immediate emission reductions. As a result, the price of carbon paid by a company goes to emission reduction projects and activities that make an immediate positive impact.

The IPCC’s report had a simple call to action: “the world needs to build a net zero economy by 2050”. Our discussions demonstrated that companies are using carbon neutral programs to lead the way to that single most important goal. And importantly, corporates will not wait until 2050 to deliver results.

By Melissa Vernon, Director of Client Engagement, Natural Capital Partners SPONSORED CONTENT

Bloomberg Philanthropies to Sponsor Annual Climate Leadership Conference

Posted on: February 26th, 2019 by Climate Leadership Conference

 

This is the second year Bloomberg Philanthropies has sponsored the Conference and Climate Leadership Awards to highlight the ongoing work of leading businesses, cities, and states

WASHINGTON — The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR) are pleased to announce that Bloomberg Philanthropies will serve as headline sponsor of the 2019 Climate Leadership Conference, which is taking place March 20-22 in Baltimore. The eighth annual conference, co-hosted by C2ES and TCR, is the preeminent U.S. climate leadership event bringing together more than 400 climate professionals from the public and private sectors.

“As cities, states, and businesses continue to be the driving force on U.S. action to fight climate change, it’s critical to provide opportunities for non-federal leaders to convene and celebrate their role and progress in cutting emissions,” said Antha Williams, head of environmental programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We know the power of non-federal leaders in driving ambitious climate action and we are grateful to be able to support this year’s Climate Leadership Conference and convene key climate players in Baltimore, a city that has enormous significance to Mike and all of Bloomberg Philanthropies.”

This is the second consecutive year that Bloomberg Philanthropies has stepped in to replace long-time sponsor, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which announced in 2017 it would discontinue its support. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support ensures that cities, states, and companies will retain an important platform to share best practices and collaborate on climate action strategies to help the U.S. fulfill its commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

“I couldn’t be happier that Bloomberg Philanthropies and America’s Pledge have again signed on to present the Climate Leadership Conference and Awards,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “I can think of no more appropriate partner in this work than Bloomberg Philanthropies and Michael Bloomberg. Their work, through America’s Pledge, is showing what the true possibilities are if we all commit to solutions to the most urgent challenge of our time.”

Launched in 2017 by Mike Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown in response to the White House announcement of intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the America’s Pledge initiative brings together thousands of U.S. cities, states, businesses, universities and others, who together declared “We Are Still In” on the international deal. In 2018, the America’s Pledge project published a comprehensive report outlining 10 high impact sectoral opportunities for leaders outside the federal government to keep the U.S within striking distance of its 2025 emissions reduction target agreed to in Paris. These include everything from improved agricultural practices to deployment of electric vehicles.

“States, cities and businesses continue to step up on climate action and inspire others to do their part,” said Ann McCabe, Interim Executive Director of The Climate Registry. “Thanks to Bloomberg’s support, we can continue to offer this platform for sharing and amplifying climate leadership.”

The Climate Leadership Awards, recognizing the best of the best in the United States, will take place on March 21st.

Making the 2019 Climate Leadership Conference the Best Yet

Posted on: September 27th, 2018 by Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

 

The climate, energy, and sustainability community is following up on the successful Global Climate Action Summit in California with fresh energy

The summit featured dozens of major emissions-cutting commitments from companies, cities, and states. The ambitious progress included a commitment by the $20.7 billion Indian manufacturer Mahindra Group to go carbon neutral by 2040, new efforts to support green finance in cities, states, businesses, and financial institutions through the Green Bond Partnership, and a revamped UN Climate Action Portal, among other demonstrations of increasing resolve.

This week’s annual gathering in the Big Apple for Climate Week NYC offers another opportunity to boost that momentum. There, America’s climate leaders sampled a preview of the 2019 Climate Leadership Conference and Awards, March 20-22 in Baltimore.

Past Climate Leadership Award winners, like IBM, Ingersoll Rand, and Clif Bar, shared how they found their formula for success in reducing their emissions, and how the Conference and Awards help them demonstrate leadership and success to internal and external stakeholders.

The conference’s organizing partners, C2ES and The Climate Registry, are developing the 2019 event now. Here’s how you can engage with us to make the 2019 conference the best yet:

Apply for a Climate Leadership Award by Oct. 12

Is your organization at the cutting edge of sustainability? Maybe you’ve set or achieved an ambitious goal for emissions reductions. Perhaps you put together a partnership to work for sustainability or resilience, or your supply chain stands out for its low footprint. There also might be someone in your organization especially influential in achieving climate goals. These are all qualifications for Climate Leadership Awards. Apply or nominate someone for the 2019 awards in any of our six categories:

  • Organizational Leadership
  • Individual Leadership
  • Supply Chain Leadership
  • Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Setting Certificate)
  • Innovative Partnership Certificate

The awards portal is now open at www.climateleadershipconference.org/clc_awards

Recommend a Speaker or Panel by Oct. 5

Do you have an idea for a session at the upcoming conference? Is there a topic where your own expertise shines? Let us know! We’re accepting nominations for the following:

  • Breakout Panels and Speakers: Engaging 60-90-minute discussions taking a deeper look at key climate or sustainability topics. Nominations can be for a full panel, or an individual speaker to join a panel.
  • Keynote Speakers: Main stage presentations, interviews or panel discussions by nationally recognized climate scientists, C-suite corporate leaders, or heads of organizations.
  • Trainings: New, deep-dive sessions designed to help attendees develop applicable skills and decision-making abilities for implementing specific climate solutions. Examples include reporting climate risks, assessing alternative fuel vehicle fleet options, setting a science-based target, or developing a plan to achieve 100 percent renewable energy.
  • Workshops: Interactive, discussion-based events that explore strategies and emerging approaches to advance climate leadership.
  • Strategy Exchange Sessions: Focused, expert-led conversations to exchange ideas around niche topics such as renewable natural gas in California, making sure clean jobs count, and supplier-specific emission factors.

If you or someone you know fits into any of these categories, see our nomination page at www.climateleadershipconference.org/speakers/recommend-a-speaker

Sponsor the CLC

Does your organization want to connect with key decision-makers, increase brand awareness or promote your initiatives? A Climate Leadership Conference sponsorship is a great way to make those connections. CLC sponsors gain exposure to a distribution list of more than 25,000 energy, climate, and sustainability professionals and a showcase for their products, services or initiatives in front of more than 400 conference attendees. Sponsors also get perks like conference registrations, access to the speaker Green Room, and private meeting space.

Let your colleagues in the climate, energy, and sustainability community know that the Climate Leadership Conference is the premier event for professionals addressing global climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions. The conference is the place to network with forward-thinking leaders from business, government, academia, and the non-profit community to explore energy and climate solutions, introduce new opportunities, and provide support to leaders acting on climate change.

Follow developments on the 2019 CLC, including speaker announcements, program updates and more at www.climateleadershipconference.org

You can also follow us on Twitter @TheCLC2019.

The growing momentum for climate action from companies, cities, and states and the accomplishments of GCAS and Climate Week NYC are inspiring more people to take positive action. Join us in Baltimore, March 20-22, 2019 to celebrate and share those achievements.

Author: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

City, State, Business Leaders Energized for Climate Action

Posted on: March 21st, 2018 by Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

 

As federal regulations and climate programs are rolled back in spite of growing evidence of climate change drivers and impacts, it could be easy for climate and clean energy advocates to feel discouraged. But a jolt of energy came in the form of the 7th annual Climate Leadership Conference in Denver and the speakers and more than 400 energy and climate professionals engaging there.

The event, presented by co-hosts C2ES and The Climate Registry and headline sponsor Bloomberg Philanthropies, offered proof that business, city, and state action will continue to drive low-carbon energy solutions and climate action in the absence of leadership in Washington. With new announcements between Xcel Energy and the city of Denver and from Visa and L’Oreal and broad participation and innovation from many sectors, it’s clear that climate action – in U.S. boardrooms, city halls, and state capitols – is strong and growing.

In addition to renewable energy announcements, collaboration to accelerate climate action took center stage:

  • Signing the final commitment on the CLC stage, Xcel Energy and the City of Denver agreed to the Energy Future Collaboration, a partnership that will help the city meet its community-wide 2050 climate goals.
  • National Grid, and its partners, Environmental Defense Fund, Colorado State University and Google Earth Outreach, received a Climate Leadership Award for their collaborative approach to detecting methane leaks in natural gas pipelines – a development that will allow better management of the country’s natural gas distribution system.
  • The Utah Climate Action network received an award for its work coordinating climate conversations among a variety of regional stakeholders.
  • The recently launched Renewable Thermal Collaborative invited businesses and city leaders to discuss how they are using renewable heating and cooling technologies to reduce GHG emissions. The conversation covered some of the specific challenges for commercial and industrial applications as well as the gaps that cannot be met by electrification. Participants also discussed policy and market challenges and opportunities to develop and scale solutions.
  • Financial sector giants have outlined principles for companies disclosing climate risks to investors, marking what may be a dramatic shift in the expectations for business as usual.
  • Electric utilities are confronting a new energy economy head on. Notably, the 2018 Individual Leadership Award was presented to Gerry Anderson, CEO of electric utility DTE Energy in Michigan. Anderson’s efforts to galvanize other utility leaders around the Clean Power Plan, and then lead his company to adopt an ambitious decarbonization plan, show that the utility sector is not the same as it was in 2009, when Congress came up short on passing a federal cap-and-trade plan. Acording to Anderson: “We’ve concluded not only that the 80 percent reduction goal is achievable, it is achievable in a way that ensures Michigan’s power is safe, secure, affordable, reliable – and sustainable. There doesn’t have to be a choice between a healthy environment and a healthy economy, although the debate often gets framed that way. We can have both, if we invest in a smart way.”
  • Community leaders and academics are shining a light on vulnerable populations to ensure disadvantaged communities can reap the benefits of new energy policies and technologies, and that communities at risk of being left behind in the clean energy transition are considered, too. Leo Raudys of the University of Minnesota noted the economic decline of coal communities, “as we celebrate new wind farms, should we also be looking back over our shoulders and doing something about the legacy problems we had a part in creating?”

One of the high points of the conference came at the Climate Leadership Awards Dinner, when former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told the audience, to exuberant applause, that in the face of federal inaction, cities, states, businesses and individuals must stand up to fill the gap. We must keep America’s Pledge to the Paris Agreement, and continue investing in innovation and fulfill our commitment to the people, institutions, and organizations that have made America a great country.

It is a precarious time for climate action, and McCarthy is right to point out that the retreat by the U.S. government has left space for greater leadership from everyone else. While we may not feel when the Arctic hits record warm temperatures, our vulnerability to extreme weather remains clear: Midwestern cities are recovering from winter floods, a series of Nor’easters are impacting millions with coastal flooding and power outages, and Puerto Rico six-months later continues rebuilding after Hurricane Irma. Companies, states, cities, and universities proved at this year’s Climate Leadership Conference they’re eager to fill the void and expand their climate strategies to tell the world “We are still in.”

Author: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions