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Why COP26 Matters to You and Your Business

COP26: What it is and why it matters to your business


In November, the world’s leaders and top scientists will come together to discuss one of humanity’s most pressing issues, climate change, at the 26th Conference of the Parties, or as it’s better known - COP26.

While the buzz around COP26 has steadily risen throughout the course of the year, it’s understandable to ask, ‘what actually is COP26, and why does it matter me and my business?’

With that in mind, we’re here to give you everything you need to know about this year’s climate summit, and why it matters to your business.

What is COP26?

In short, COP26 is a global United Nations summit about climate change and how countries around the world are going to tackle it. The summit is the 26th time the UN has brought the world’s leaders and top scientists together to discuss the ongoing issue of climate change. As it’s the 26th time these countries have convened, this meeting has been dubbed, COP26.

When and where is it?

This year’s summit is taking place between the 31st October and the 12th November at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland.

What are the goals of COP26?

As you can imagine, COP26 is more than an informal get-together of world leaders and top scientists. In fact, there are a number of goals that the summit is planning to agree upon, including:

1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach – Attending countries have been asked to come forward with ambitious emission reduction targets to hit by 2030, with the long-term goal being that the world achieves net-zero emissions by 2050.

2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats – Countries need to work together to protect and restore ecosystems as well as build safety mechanisms to prevent the loss of homes, livelihoods, and even lives as a result of climate change.

3. Mobilise finance – for the first two goals to be possible, countries around the world need to commit at least $100USD billion per year to tackling problems arising from climate change by 2020.

4. Work together to deliver – Only by working in harmony can the world take on this monumental challenge.

Why is COP26 different to previous COPs?

While the issue of climate change should be a priority for everyone, not just governments, this year’s summit poses extra significance. Firstly, 2020 was the primary deadline for a number of goals marked out in the Paris Agreement set out at COP21. What’s more, this year’s event is receiving major attention from two of world’s superpowers – China and the U.S. – who are jointly responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions.

Why does COP26 matter to small businesses?

COP26 may seem purely addressed to those operating on an international level. However, the summit will set the tone on policies around sustainability going forward for everybody, not just governments. With this in mind, there has never been a better time to start or deepen your commitments to more sustainable business practices.
Here are some ideas for how your business can take its sustainability policies to the next level:

  • Set sustainability targets – Like the nations meeting at this year’s summit, small businesses can start their sustainability journey by setting out targets. That’s not to say your targets need to be on the same level as COP26’s guests! Setting small goals, such as cutting your energy usage by an achievable percentage, can go a long way to lessening your business’ impact on the environment. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for Small Businesses is a great place to start when it comes to thinking of achievable goals.

  • Use renewable energy sources – Renewable energies have become a more than viable option when it comes to powering businesses. While going 100% renewable isn’t always possible, incorporating solar, wind or other sustainable sources into your business can benefit not only the environment, but also your business. Whether it’s cutting your energy bill or setting an example to fellow businesses, taking the first step into renewable energy could help your business in a wide variety of ways.

  • Review your supply chain – It’s easy to focus on your own business when going green. But, it’s important to consider the network which makes your business possible. While acquiring all your resources locally is not always viable, researching into sustainability-driven suppliers could pay big dividends to your business and the environment. This Harvard Business Review article is a great starting point when it comes to understanding what goes into a sustainable supply chain.

Feeling inspired to update your sustainability goals? Speak to one of our V-Hub Advisors to start your journey to greener business.
You can also find out more about COP26 on the summit’s dedicated webpage.

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