Transforming the economy to tackle climate change
The Climate Action Alliance of the European Technology Chamber hosted a webinar in March to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by global leaders, businesses and individuals in response to global climate change. The webinar explored the intricate relationship between the economy and the environment and how economic systems drive climate change.
Three panellists, including CIPR International committee member Claire Benson / SDG Changemakers / examined how shifting to a sustainable economy can mitigate the effects of climate change. They highlighted the importance of tackling overproduction and excessive consumption as key to supporting the transition from 'business as usual' (BAU) to adopting sustainable business models. Such a transition would put the well-being of the planet and people on an equal footing with financial prosperity.
Claire Benson explored the role of the food and beverage industry, emphasising the importance of creating an affordable, nutritious, and healthy food system. She pointed out that technology and data already support traceability and highlighted the role of communications and marketing in ensuring climate and health-related claims are transparent and accurately applied.
The growth of global sustainability regulations, particularly the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), was another critical topic discussed. Claire spoke about the challenges leaders face when moving from BAU to sustainable business models. She emphasised using levers such as governance, culture, and strategy for transformation and rewriting the narrative and focus for core business functions such as finance, HR, marketing, and communications.
The panellists agreed that disclosures such as #GRI and the #integratedreporting framework can support thinking and implementing actions around sustainability. It was acknowledged, however, that true transformation would come when there was a mind shift. This shift involves putting people/communities and nature first and thinking through the unintended consequences of any action on the well-being of people and the planet.
The webinar was a timely reminder that climate change is one of humanity's most pressing challenges and highlighted the need for businesses to embrace sustainability as a fundamental part of their operations, rather than treating it as a marketing ploy or box-ticking exercise. The panellists agreed that the transition to a sustainable economy requires a paradigm shift in our thinking, putting people and the planet first and considering the long-term impact of our actions.