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business and climate change

As we head closer into COP26 taking place in Scotland in the United Kingdom this year, we wanted to take a moment to explain what a "COP" is, it's importance this year, and share a news article recently published interviewing Inogen Alliance Board member Alex Ferguson, Managing Director of Associate Delta-Simons in the UK.

What is a "COP"?

For nearly three decades the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits – called COPs – which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’. In that time climate change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority.

This year will be the 26th annual summit – giving it the name COP26, it's taking place in Glasgow in the UK and follows up a heated COP in Paris as the last one.

In the run up to COP26 the UK is working with every nation to reach agreement on how to tackle climate change. World leaders will arrive in Scotland, alongside tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for twelve days of talks.

Not only is it a huge task but it is also not just yet another international summit. Most experts believe COP26 has a unique urgency.

The European Interview with Alex Ferguson

"It is not enough to look to policymakers to solve climate change, business of all size must take responsibility," says Managing Director of Delta-Simons Alex Ferguson.

As world leaders look ahead to COP26 in Glasgow this November, there is a feeling of optimism that change is on the horizon. However, it is easy to feel that all we need is the right policies and regulations, that heads of state and international organisations will set policy for global corporations to implement change into their businesses and supply chains.

We must not forget that the purpose of policy is to give guidance and direction to individuals to instigate meaningful change. But we in the business community must take responsibility. We know that change is coming (or we hope change is coming) so why wait? There is a fixation on what “they” are going to do about climate change and the biodiversity crisis, but it is what “we” do about it that really matters.

There is a tendency for policymakers and global businesses to overcomplicate. The vast majority of businesses – for example, 90% of SMEs in the UK – do not measure their carbon footprint and see the cost of doing so as prohibitive. However, we are asking the wrong question. Many of these businesses know exactly what they spend on their energy and water bills, and track travel to the nearest mile in their expenses and fuel card systems. This is the basis of a carbon footprint. If you have that information recorded, you are almost there. As environmental consultants, if we are handed clear records of energy usage and travel, we can quickly and affordably provide a carbon footprint, the majority of consultancy fees are incurred in obtaining and cleaning the data, not in the actual calculations.

Although Delta-Simons is an SME, our work is global. We are part of the Inogen Alliance, which is an Alliance of over 70 businesses with offices in over 100 countries. Having local expertise is key to what we do, enabling us to understand the cultural priorities in the areas our clients operate, and having the ability to operate on the ground without flying experts around the world.

As you start to make your changes and implement your policies, understanding where you source your materials and where your products are used is going to be key. Understand your starting point and what you aspire to. Start by asking the simple questions. Find out what your people are passionate about, and run with it.

Read the full article here.

Goals for COP26

To close, here are the goals currently outlined for COP26. We will report back with a summary and point of view from Inogen Alliance after these meetings take place in November.

1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.

2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects.

At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change.

3. Mobilise finance

To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020. International financial institutions must play their part and we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

4. Work together to deliver

We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together.

To see more details about COP26 check out the website here.