In this section, we explore sustainability efforts towards the materials and resources we consume, and ask how risk management can help us ensure their sustainable and responsible use.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs) are central to the world's commitment to sustainability. How can risk management help the world achieve these goals by 2030?
Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) is being used to drive real and tangible commitments by the private sector. How will these efforts help to achieve global sustainable outcomes?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
The AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023 was initially published as a guide for policy makers in March 2023. It is the output of some eight to nine years of detailed research. The report suggests possible ways to limit climate change. The transformation required is very large, as the previous AR6 section reports have already stressed.
The three AR6 report volumes supporting the Synthesis Report have been produced by three Working Groups and were published between August 2021 and April 2022, with each one making news headlines around the world about the need for humanity to respond to climate change. IPCC AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis (the first part of the overall report) was published on 9 August, 2021. The second part of AR6, focusing on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability was published on 28 February 2022 with the third part, focusing on Mitigation of Climate Change, published on 4 April 2022.
The challenge we face is now even clearer than it was when the IPCC’s last previous major assessment, AR5, was published in 2013-14. The Earth has warmed over a tenth of a degree since then; it is now approximately 1.1ºC (2ºF) hotter than it was in the second half of the 19th century. Even if all countries cut their greenhouse-gas emissions dramatically (and they are not yet on a consistent downward trend of any kind) the IPCC states that temperatures are most likely to be 1.5ºC higher than they were in the 19th century by 2050 - if not before.
As reported by USA Today in June 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic barely changed the levels of CO2 we emit. As COVID-19 has become endemic, in 2023 humanity continues to spew carbon dioxide and other GHGs into Earth's atmosphere at levels not seen in more than 4 million years.
Measurements of CO2, the chief human-caused greenhouse gas, averaged 419 parts per million at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, for December 2022, according to the Global Monitoring Laboratory of NOAA.
In May 2021 the IEA published a landmark report, outlining what is required globally to achieve Net Zero by 2050.
The IEA believes that meeting this goal, which has been adopted by the EU, the US and the UK amongst others, requires a total transformation of the global economy over the next three decades.
Under their scenario, it would include ending the sale of petrol cars by 2035, reaching 100 per cent clean energy by 2040 and using heat pumps to meet at least half of all heating needs by 2045. Some major energy consuming countries industry executives said at the report's launch that the IEA's pathway is out of touch with the reality of current consumption patterns. Since then, consumerism bounced back after the pandemic, we have seen a global energy and cost of living shock, and disaster events linked to climate change have continued to occur.
So, what will the world do to reduce its emissions...?
In March 2023 the IEA launched a tracking database of CO2 capture, transport, storage, and utilisation projects worldwide...
The Climate Neutral Now Initiative is one of several initiatives launched by the UNFCCC secretariat to increase climate action by engaging a wide range of stakeholders (sub-national governments, companies, organisations, individuals)...
This piece from the World Economic Forum (the WEF) discusses a "circular bioeconomy of wellbeing".
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in their Global Risks Report 2023, the next decade will be characterised by environmental and societal crises, driven by underlying geopolitical and economic trends...
The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People is an intergovernmental group of 60 countries co-chaired by Costa Rica and France and by the United Kingdom as Ocean co-chair, championing a global deal for nature and people with the central goal of protecting at least 30 percent of world’s land and ocean by 2030.
The Sustainable Markets Initiative was launched in 2021, and is gathering a global ‘coalition of the willing’ who share a vision for the world to accelerate global progress towards a sustainable future.
In this BBC Business Daily Podcast from 2021, Manuela Saragosa speaks with economist Mariana Mazzucato, who argues that America’s Apollo programme, which landed people on the moon in the 1960s, has a lot to teach us about tackling some of the biggest economic challenges on earth today. The discussion focuses on a bold and visionary state which would take on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, among others.
Over 3 billion people in the world today are at some risk to their health and safety due to lack of access to cooling. Although it is a critical societal need, cooling also represents one of the single largest end-use risks to global climate goals. The RMI sponsored a Global Cooling Prize and in April 2021 they announced the winners, along with a report on how we can tackle this challenge.
In September 2022, an important paper was published in the journal, Science. The analysis indicates that even global warming of 1°C, a threshold that we already have passed, puts the world at risk by triggering some key tipping points. This finding is a compelling reason for us to limit additional warming as much as possible.
The United Nations World Water Development Report 2023: Partnerships and cooperation for water, launched on 22 March 2023, informs the UN 2023 Water Conference (22-24 March 2023).
It describes how building partnerships and enhancing cooperation across all dimensions of sustainable development are essential to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal for water and sanitation (SDG 6) and realising the human rights to water and sanitation.
Nature-based solutions have the potential to play a major role in addressing the twin and interlinked environmental crises humanity faces of climate change and nature loss. Interest in such solutions from governments, business and media alike has grown dramatically in recent years.
This Global Future Council of the World Economic Forum provides Reports and insights into achieving Nature-based solutions, for the benefit of people and the planet.
This paper discusses aspects of climate risk and what organisations need to consider.
As this Report, published in June 2021, describes, humanity is facing an existential threat. The interlinked and cascading effects of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution – a Triple Planetary Crisis – are exacting a heavy toll on individuals, communities, and economies and imperilling life on our planet.
As this piece published by The Guardian in July 2021 describes, the effects of ‘weird weather’ were already being felt in the 1960s, but scientists linking fossil fuels with climate change were dismissed as prophets of doom...
The Nature-based Solutions Initiative is an interdisciplinary programme of research, education and policy advice based at the University of Oxford. Its mission is to enhance understanding of the potential of Nature-based Solutions to address multiple global challenges and support their sustainable implementation worldwide.
The shipping industry is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. How can they contribute to commitments to reduce global emissions? In addition to a Paper which you can access below, for an innovative example of using wind to power large ships, look at Oceanbird by Wallenius.
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