The climate’s right for a summit of your own

Our climate change champion Richard Hagan, managing director of Crystal Doors on the COP26 climate summit and why we all have an important part to play.

Between October 31 and November 12, representatives from nearly 200 countries will descend upon Glasgow for the COP26 UN climate summit. It will be a landmark moment for the future of the planet, and that’s not
an overstatement. 

At COP26, world leaders and experts will negotiate, hopefully, unprecedented measures to tackle the climate emergency and get us back on course for limiting global temperature rise to between 1.5 to 2°C – the goal agreed six years ago in the Paris Agreement. 

Very little progress has been made since then, and we are now at existential crisis level. Scientists have concluded that we are currently on course to blow right past 1.5°C and heat the planet by around 3°C or more by the end of the century – the consequences of which are unfathomable.

COP26 will be full of political disagreements, backroom bargaining and compromise. What we end up with will ultimately define whether we are able to take control of the climate emergency and limit global temperature rise to habitable levels, or not. The world will be watching, and you should too. 

But as businesses, we can’t wait for world leaders to play catch-up. If we are to find a way out of this crisis, we all need to act now. The big climate summit may be happening in Glasgow, but tens of thousands of individual climate summits need to be taking place in boardrooms up and down the country as well. 

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I started my own form of climate summit in 2015, consulting local experts to help me understand how to turn a business that was struggling with its environmental impact into a sustainable enterprise without breaking the bank. Six years later, we are now celebrated as one of the greenest manufacturers in the country.

Investments in intelligent, energy-efficient equipment, solar power, self-supplied biomass heating and electric vehicles have paid off – we are not only on track to reach net zero emissions years ahead of most companies, but we are making record profit thanks to a leaner, greener operation and the kudos that comes with leading the way. Having seen what’s possible, my employees are now the ones leading the next steps. 

How can KBB businesses get started on their own climate summit? It starts by bringing something to the table. Pledge to halve your emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by at least 2050 via the UK Busi-ness Climate Hub website (businessclimatehub.org/uk), which was launched in partnership with COP26. The website provides tailored guidance and tools on the steps you should take next. Share your commitment with the world. Show you mean business.

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