Over recent weeks, climate change has climbed to the top of the social, economic and political agenda through Cop26, the UN climate change conference that was held in Glasgow, from 31 October to 12 November 2021. An agreement was announced by a tearful Alok Sharma, Cop26’s president, following stern disagreements between world leaders in the conference’s final hours, over the wording of an intention to abandon coal. The wording was watered down from “phase out” to “phase down”.
Limiting global warming to 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels was a key part of the 2015 Paris Agreement that most countries signed up to. This event was to build upon those promises made.
The Paris Agreement requires the cutting of global emissions by 45% by 2030, and to zero overall by 2050. It was hoped that an agreement in Glasgow would have fulfilled this target with a degree of confidence, but unfortunately this has not been achieved, nor may it be enough to limit global warming to 1.5C. We are now faced with the fact that unless businesses and individuals put into place a change in the way in which we lead our lives, dramatic climate change is inevitable.
To put that into perspective, scientists believe that a 2.0C rise would decimate, or possibly eliminate, coral reefs entirely. Rising sea waters would see some islands disappear off the global map: the likes of the Maldives, which is just 1.5m above sea level, are at risk.
As a multi-billion-pound industry, there’s much we can do. Already, we’ve become a business that has achieved a zero landfill standard, and we’re already planning forward as to how we can become CO2 neutral, well ahead of legislative and regulatory requirements in 2050.
Whether an industry body will pick up and drive a programme of change management and commitment remains to be seen. But what we need to do is to become better at how we manage the environment right now. It’s certainly a message that’s resonating with consumers.
Recycling is certainly an important first step. But the whole sustainability and climate change agenda needs to be looked at in considerable detail. It might be down to individual companies, but my hope is that a collective body may well help achieve this on a greater scale. After all, we owe it to the future generations to come.
Managing director of Endurance Doors