The business of rapid transition – What does aligning business to meet the 1.5°C climate target actually look like?

Posted on 2 March 2020

Around the world, from the local to national levels, government
authorities are declaring climate emergencies and seeking strategies for
rapid transition to act accordingly. In the middle of December 2019 that
included 1,216 jurisdictions in 25 countries representing 798 million
citizens, covering, for example, 80 per cent of the UK population, and 74
per cent in New Zealand. But is there a parallel response for business to
act at the scale and speed needed to tackle the climate emergency?

The United Nations IPCC report on 1.5°C, released in October 20181, left little room for doubt about the need for rapid transitions in business and across society if catastrophic levels of climate change are to be avoided. It also pulled few punches about the scale of change, calling for ‘transformative, systemic change’. So where does this leave business? How far and in what ways are businesses responding to the need to align their corporate strategies with a 1.5°C trajectory?

This briefing provides a summary and background of key discussion points emerging from a meeting of people from business, civil society, foundations and academia aimed at moving this agenda forward in the business community.