An often heard remark is that Governments need to take action to stop climate change – by reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions nationally, and agreeing a new international treaty. This is very true – but to properly tackle climate change we need a co-ordinated effort across society, including business, civil society and individuals.
This was brought home at an event organised by my colleague Shobana Kesava in Singapore recently. Working with WWF Singapore, the discussion looked at “Carbon Reduction and Corporate Sustainability”. After outlining the new British Government’s approach to the issue (including the commitment to reduce Government emissions by 10% over the next year), the local context was set by screening the film High Stakes, which shows how climate change is likely to affect South East Asia.
A range of speakers outlined their take on the issue. A leading environmental economist from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy took a look at current consumption patterns, and argued for large reductions in Greenhouse Gas emissions in developed countries.
The Executive Director of “Brand Green” built the case for making sustainability issues part of business as usual. He explained how many companies are now rigorously examining the supply chain, to ensure their suppliers are also engaging in climate friendly practices.
And a senior Executive from Fairmont Hotels spoke about the threat to his business from extreme weather patterns caused by climate change. Hotels and resorts are reliant on attractive and stable environments to attract weary travellers. Fairmont has therefore become a Climate Saver, under the WWF programme that encourages companies to invest in projects that protect rainforests, promote recycling, and use energy effectively.
This is just one example. But it demonstrates nicely that no one group can provide the answer to climate change – and that already, there is good joint working to try and find practical solutions. If you have time, take a look at what the Climate Savers programme is doing.