No COP-ping out now: The climate pressure is on

As the COP26 climate summit draws to a close, our climate change champion Richard Hagan, managing director of Crystal Doors shows you where to find resources that will help you take more sustainable steps.

After five years of build-up, plus another year’s delay, one of the most important summits in history takes place in November. The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow will see nearly 200 nations – along with activists and climate scientists – have their say on the future of the planet. 

There will be fraught negotiation between warring factions. The leaders vs. the laggards, developing vs. developed, the US vs. China, and so on. Deals will be done; pacts will be made. Then it will all be over, and that’s when the hard work really begins. 

Once COP26 is written into the history books, policymakers will begin putting what was agreed into practice and every business will have to adapt. Large companies will be targeted first to comply, report and reduce their emissions. But once any of your suppliers and customers begin reporting on their sustainability, they will require your help and data too. 

I believe 2021 was the year when the cost of not taking action on climate change overtook the costs of doing something about it. Not just in terms of financial costs, but in reputational and brand damage. This cost differential will continue widening every year – the longer you wait, the further behind you will be.

The post-COP26 era will be underpinned by long-term planning, short-term quick wins and, most importantly, shared responsibility. Just as world leaders are discussing how to ensure a safer future for everyone, we too can gather our people, and unite our efforts. Crystal Doors has become a community of passionate individuals championing change, and we are stronger than ever because we have acted early. 

The science shows that our collective survival is on a knife edge, but I am still positive about the future and that of our industry. The good news, if you are just starting out, is that there is now a huge repository of resources available to you thanks to the awareness whipped up by COP26. Start by visiting the UK Business Climate Hub website for free guidance, tools and a formal pledge to halve your emissions by 2030 and report annually on your progress. Make use of the ample support available online and through local networks such as your nearest Growth Hub.

The term ‘COP’ technically stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’ but as businesses it’s better we think of it as Close of Play, because that’s the urgency with which we all need to take action. Ask yourself every day: What am I going to do by COP that will help to reduce my environmental impact? It could be putting aside time for research, or it could be planning your next money-saving action to reduce energy. Each small step is a step towards a better future for us all.

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