Why Businesses Should Care About COP26

If you live in Scotland, you’re likely already well aware of the UN’s Climate Change Conference - COP26 - taking place in Glasgow, Scotland this November (but in case you’re not, check out this COP26 cheat sheet).

The conference aims to spark international action on climate change and uphold commitments made at previous iterations of the events.

While delegates will primarily involve world leaders, decisions made at COP26 have potential to impact communities and businesses, both local and larger-scale.

Not sure what all the fuss is about? Here’s why your business should care about COP26.

 

It’s important to consumers

Despite our propensity for a good bargain, more of us are waking up to the environmental cost that comes with certain mass-produced goods. Sustainability is fast becoming one of the top priorities for consumers. A UK Government survey found that 62% of respondents were more likely to purchase a produce or service if they believed it to be sustainable. (EY)

 

Similarly, 32% of consumers report being highly engaged with adopting a more sustainable lifestyle: a figure that’s only set to increase as more of us wake up to the climate reality. (Deloitte)

 

Not only will consumers opt for sustainable alternatives: they’re also willing to pay more for the privilege. “There is accumulating evidence that consumers are impacted by the perceived sustainability of a brand, and further, that consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from a sustainable brand over a non-sustainable competitor brand”, Dr. Matt Johnson, Hult International Business School professor tells Business Insider.

What matters to consumers matters to you, so the event’s outcomes should absolutely be on your radar if you’ve noticed an increase in sustainably-minded customers.

 

It’s important to investors

It’s fast becoming a standard requirement for organisations vying for tenders and investment to demonstrate their green credentials.

Beyond making token gestures, investors and partners alike now want to see hard evidence of sustainable action, and they’re willing to go elsewhere if that’s not to hand.

Investment that ’takes into account environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues’ has increased to almost $23 trillion globally (Forbes), while a quarter of all the UK's investors will invest in ESG initiatives by 2025. (WealthAdviser)

Many of the world’s nations, including the UK, enshrined net zero targets into law following past COP events. Those businesses that embraced these policies early are now reaping the rewards. What opportunities will the new COP26 agreements represent?

 

It’s important to the workforce

Did you know that 73% of workers want their employer to improve is sustainability policy? (Insight)

Without paying a close eye to the issues discussed at COP26 and investing in sustainability, your business risks missing out on key talent.

Many successful businesses are pivoting their activity and aggressively marketing their net zero efforts. As you may have learned from their recent national ad campaign, Scottish craft beer giants Brewdog are going carbon negative through a combination of limiting emissions and offsetting them through planting trees.

300+ businesses have joined RE100, a global initiative committing to renewable electricity, while many are signing up to rigorous B Corp standards (including Moment - learn more about our B Corp journey).

Your business can appeal to top talent by embracing sustainable change.

 

It’s important for your bottom line

Many businesses stand to benefit from loans for going green. In partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish government is offering a green loan to SMEs to help them reduce their energy costs.

The loan provides unsecured, interest-free loans of up to £100,000 for installation of energy-efficient equipment including lighting, heating, double glazing, and insulation, with a further 15% cash back incentive.

Further interest-free loans of up to £120,000 are available for Scottish businesses trying to lower their transport and travel costs (Tax Insider).

These initiatives come largely as a result of Scotland’s goal to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2045: a target set following a recent COP event.

While we’re discussing bottom lines, have you heard about the Triple Bottom Line? It’s a business philosophy that deems People and Planet as equally important to Profit. Reframing business success in this way could radically transform the way companies operate. Learn more about the Triple Bottom Line and ethical marketing .

 

It’s important for the planet

The primary aim of COP26 is to ‘secure global net zero emissions by the mid-century and keep [a maximum global temperature increase of] 1.5 degrees within reach’ (UK COP26)

We all need to work together to achieve this. Businesses play a particularly important role in this endeavour. While we all have individual responsibility to reduce our carbon emissions, collectively, businesses are huge polluters. They also have the resources needed to effect change.

As Adam Bell, Technical Director at Moment notes: “While investing in green initiatives may be costly in the short term, a zoomed-out perspective soon reveals that the longevity of our businesses depend on the prosperity of our planet.”

 

Final thoughts

COP26 has significance for everyone. For businesses, there is not only the opportunity to benefit financially, but to create new connections with sustainably-minded consumers, and to create a long-lasting legacy for the planet.

Whether you’re trying to future proof your business, engage consumers, secure investment, attract new talent, qualify for green loans or simply trying to make a difference, the results of this year’s COP event matters to you.

We’ll be following the event closely and keeping you posted on the most important outcomes from COP26.

 

Next steps

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