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Climate Innovation Forum June 2021

I attended the three-day online Climate Innovation Forum which commenced June 29, 2021 and was organized by the firm Climate Action.  The session provided outstanding, authoritative commentary and panel discussions regarding many important issues and factors surrounding climate change – primarily but not exclusively relating to the United Kingdom’s perspective.  Climate Action has slated multiple additional activities preceding, and for, COP26 – including the Sustainable Investment Forum North America 2021 scheduled for late September of this year.

Among my observations and takeaways from the June 2021 sessions were the following:

A sense of both progress and continued, if not heightened, sense of urgency remains in the minds of the many professional participants focused on the issue.

Climate represents the most important strategic challenge facing organizations although prioritization, if not overall awareness, among firms varies considerably.  Historical economic opportunities accompany the challenges.

National governments must set clear, long term policies and implement appropriate regulation commensurate with challenges to foster evolution / growth of the green economy.  Government also maintains a responsibility for communicating and educating consumers, as to nature and magnitude of threats – to the planet and citizens’ futures – economic and otherwise.  Government should additionally seek participation in public / private capital approaches to foster suitable risk / return propositions for funding, development and scaling of successful technologies.

Climate change’s physical and  transition risks present long term issues for ALL businesses, including small and midsize enterprises.  SMEs, however, maintain less robust risk management systems and face relatively greater knowledge gaps and resource constraints – the latter, particularly, while emerging from the global pandemic.  Climate change impacts and adaptations will necessarily be driven into supply chains.  Larger organizations, therefore, must help SMEs understand how industries will change.

Disclosure, common standards and language remain important, developmental considerations although progress has been made with respect to adoption of TCFD recommendations.

Data challenges should not prevent organizations from getting started.

Building sustainable infrastructure for and providing capital to the developing world will prove critical.  Transition strategies should indeed reflect “just” transitions – assisting those populations and citizens most vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Investors must ensure boards move toward the green economy.  One participant suggests that $7 trillion will be required annually for transition.

The moment must be seized at COP26 and the architecture for achieving objectives must emerge.

Nature-based solutions, those which protect and restore ecosystems, should be implemented in tandem with climate change mitigation initiatives – noting that land use change represents the largest source of biodiversity loss and the 2nd largest climate change force.