Summary Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that the global economy must reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 to ward off the catastrophic effects of climate change. Despite this scientific consensus, and despite broad agreement that climate change will disrupt every sector of the global economy, governmental action has not been sufficient to establish a path to net zero.
Instead, non-governmental organizations and the private sector are stepping in, launching decarbonization initiatives that are driving down GHG emissions in virtually every industry and region of the globe.
Key Highlights - There is not yet enough transparency or accountability for the feedback loop to be fully effective. It requires more transparency so that all key stakeholders - consumers, partners, employees, and investors - can make informed decisions about which companies to support. It requires more accountability so that companies are held to their climate promises, and false claims - greenwashing - are exposed. If these are in place, it will be easier for all stakeholders to participate. - Likely winners in the energy transition include consumer-facing industries and those with the flexibility to shift business models away from climate disruption. They include automotive, retail, media, banking, insurance, and technology. - Facing greater, even existential, challenges will be industries that are far behind in the transition away from carbon or that cannot escape climate disruption. They include oil and gas, coal, chemicals, real estate, pharmaceuticals, construction, and agriculture. - Every company must recognize that the science is clear, and the need for climate action will only increase. It’s an “all hands on deck” moment that calls for an “all of the above” approach - regulation, voluntary action, technology innovation, and self-interested action by companies seeking competitive advantage as they balance near-term and long-term business strategies. Inaction is not an option.
Scope - research on climate change and its impact on business is one facet of a broader stream of research on sustainability and sustainable business practices. - This report focuses on climate change because of its singular importance. Climate change is existential. It is already disrupting many natural systems, accelerating wildfires, sea-level rise, and coastal flooding, extreme storms, and human dislocation. - The report contains analysis of the forces driving climate change action, and introduces climate action feedback loop. This rewards and reinforces corporate climate action, prompting more of it. - There is discussion of the three main climate action strategies: emissions reduction, carbon capture and storage, and carbon offsets. - The report discuss climate action strategies and methods in use across various sectors of the global economy. It highlights the actions of more than 120 companies across eight sectors.
Reasons to Buy - Read our Climate Change report to understand why hundreds of companies have already made commitments to reach net-zero by 2050, with more than 100 committing to a 2040 target. - We expect that the pace of commitments will increase as early movers demonstrate that decarbonization is possible and that it brings market rewards sufficient to draw more participation and accelerate the climate action feedback loop.
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