As an exporter of both carbon accounting philosophy and practices dating back at least fifteen years, the UK is a mature market for navigating the path to net zero. Looking today across the key financial and corporate brands attending edie 23, there is a strong, clear signal of engagement to address the climate crisis.
Recognising that for many attendees here at edie 23, greenwashing, call to action, and critical planning are all top of mind, I will paraphrase the great climate economist Lord Nick Stern and ask, “Why are we still waiting?”
Yes, collectively, we have made progress. But last month, I published my views in response to the UK Government's decision to open yet another consultation on how to transition the economy towards relative net zero goals. This month, at another conference on the other side of the Atlantic, I made the case again that there is nothing remarkable about climate data - no more so than any form of enterprise data that organizations have mastered for decades.
To some extent, all of the businesses attending edie 23 this week have spent considerable time examining this challenge. Many have had some success at data collection, disclosure, management, and reducing associated costs. Tools like Persefoni are appearing at scale, further driving down costs and complexity. Meanwhile, some organisations are doing little or nothing; however, they are the exception. But one thing should be abundantly clear by now: this isn’t a political issue - it’s a business one.
The risks associated with climate change are business risks - financial and operational. Those enterprises who identify the shifting markets and both calculate and manage the financial impact on their business today will be the ones not only still standing, but prospering, decades from now.
Persefoni sees consistent themes emerge when working with organisations both confident in their numbers and those that have barely begun: clear delineations between the time spent identifying and/or collecting activity data, implementing new processes for measurement, calculation, and reporting, and equipping people with the right skill sets and expertise to execute against those systems.
Again, automation at scale is quickly addressing these earlier themes, as software/tools to support data collection and management, internal processes, assurance, and investor-grade reporting are now readily available.
Yet while it’s easy to speak of treating your carbon data with the same rigor as your financial data, what does that really mean?
- Are you investing in a central system of record with internal processes to support Investor Grade reporting?
- Are you preparing scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions disclosures, YOY, accompanied by more than a limited assurance opinion?
- Are your boards & audit committees being held to account for the quality of your climate disclosures?
- Have you set a science-based target for your decarbonization pathway, in line with global scientific guidance?
- Have you used your climate data to engage with a broad group of stakeholders, including investors and regulators, to demonstrate that you take the business impact of climate risk seriously?
- Have your net zero targets and transition plans undergone the same scrutiny?
On this last point, now is a good time to get started. We are already seeing an accountability crisis as public climate statements are being held to increasing levels of scrutiny. It’s clear we’ve passed a rubicon when leaders like the UN Secretary-General publicly endorse climate lawsuits.
Our team will be on the ground this week. Look out for us. We welcome all attendees to our booth at space #8, where we look forward to continuing the discussion in person.