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Helping businesses help the planet

My year as part of the Climate Champions Team

Climate change affects everyone, in society and business, and each individual can do something to address the issue. For my part, I’ve been proud to spend the past year in the Climate Champions Team and be the public face of Deloitte’s involvement with COP – particularly around adaptation and resilience.

As well as setting the 2015 Paris Agreement goals, COP21 realised that those goals could be achieved only through stronger and more ambitious action on climate change. So, to inspire and mobilise action by non-state actors, the UN created two High-Level Champion roles – currently held by Mahmoud Mohieldin and Razan Al Mubarak – supported by a team of experts, to which I was seconded by Deloitte.

The Race to Resilience (R2R) campaign aims to prepare the planet’s whole population for such risks, by putting people and nature first, and I was privileged to act as the campaign’s Business Engagement Lead. The goal of the R2R campaign is to increase the resilience of four billion people in the most vulnerable communities by 2030, and my role was to encourage business involvement in the campaign, through partner networks. This is important work to help businesses recognise not only the impact of climate change and how they could be more prepared, but also how their strategic choices could protect their staff and customers, and the communities and environment in which they operate. This is new territory for many businesses, so I’ve been able to help them think through how building resilience fits with their wider systems transformations.

The role took me to COP26 in Glasgow (2021) and COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh (2022), both important platforms for businesses to share their experiences, best practices, and challenges. It also provides a forum where they can collaborate to develop practical solutions and engage with government discussions on climate policy.

"Putting people and nature first in pursuit of a resilient world where  we don’t just survive climate shocks and stresses, but thrive in spite of them."

– Race to Resilience campaign

Reflecting on my year, there are six key takeaways for businesses:

  • Join campaigns like the Race to Resilience, where your business can engage and collaborate with stakeholders on climate action and participate in the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda.
  • Promote the business case for climate action, such as reducing the business risks from climate change, and recognising the opportunities that climate-friendly activities can create.
  • Support the development of tools and resources that help your business measure, manage and disclose its climate risks and opportunities.
  • Adopt science-based targets, which help drive the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.
  • Engage with governments and other stakeholders, by taking part in policy discussions, sharing best practices, and collaborating on projects or initiatives to support climate action.
  • Understand and assess your climate risks and opportunities, and develop strategies to manage them, build your adaptability and resilience, and become ready to thrive, not just survive.

There’s a lot to do, and many choices for what should be done. If you know it’s important to act, but aren’t quite sure what comes next, simply get in touch with us.