As the dust settles around COP26 and the spin battle of its legacy continues to be thrown into flux, Altruistiq brings you five key insights from behind the scenes at COP26. These are observations, not always making headlines, that we consider to be relevant takeaways for your business.
1. How to navigate a global conference as an SME
As an SME, navigating a global conference can be a daunting and potentially unfeasible prospect. These are Altruistiq’s top tips for getting the most out of your time and money.
- Commit to key climate corporate commitments. Altruistiq is a signatory of Tech Zero, a group of tech companies joining forces to accelerate progress to net zero. Being a signatory meant we could access an exciting Net Zero Now event and talk to like-minded businesses about tackling climate challenges.
- Take up opportunities to co-organise events. By doing so, we significantly expanded Altruistiq’s access to events as well as giving structure to the trip.
- You don’t always need to be on the panel to meet the panelists. We went to events to both learn from the panelists and meet them.
- Communicate with your network. Use the opportunity to check in with your network and meet in person.
- AirBnB over hotel. Booking an Airbnb means you can use it as a hosting hub.
2. What we learned from organising a Blue Zone panel
The Blue Zone was a UN-managed space that brought together over 30,000 delegates along with observer organisations, journalists, heads of state, and finally, the Altruistiq team!
So, what was a start-up like Altruistiq doing in the Blue Zone?
We helped the Pakistan Environment Trust, an NGO, in launching Net Zero Pakistan: Top 26 at COP26. We both moderated and assisted in running an informative panel discussion.
The panelists highlighted that to support companies and countries move rapidly along the net-zero journey, there is a necessity for large multinationals to provide help in the form of just financial commitments. Entities with the best enabling environment for green capital will attract this finance first. Companies and countries need to identify the pathways and barriers to mobilise and facilitate the flow of private capital.
3. Great to see increasing engagement from private sector leaders
Last week at COP26, Prince Charles recognised the private sector as the key to saving the planet and achieving the fundamental economic overhaul necessary to avert climate disaster.
As the Summit unfolded, the world saw unprecedented traction from the private sector in unlocking green capital. For example, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), a global coalition of over 450 financial firms worth $130 trillion, committed to uniting the global financial sector in transitioning to net zero.
The C-Suite representation at COP26 similarly highlighted climate change as a top priority for businesses globally. Altruistiq met chief executives from some of the largest global companies, many of whom were using the Summit to release their new sustainability initiatives.
A particularly interesting discussion that demonstrated the increased corporate awareness was “How to Finance the Economy and Finance the Transition”. Emmanuel Faber, former chair and CEO of Danone, discussed the company’s drive to standardise sustainability-adjusted financial metrics to support capital flows.
4. Its time for reporting to drive change
The announcement of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) marks a new chapter of climate-aligned investing and will significantly help to achieve global sustainability goals.
The single framework calls for high-quality, credible, and comparable reporting standards to tackle corporate greenwashing. Investors are increasingly demanding transparent, standardised information from companies. This standardisation will be an efficient way for the finance sector to allocate money. However, it must be noted that the ISSB is another voluntary standards setter with no enforcement capabilities. The ISSB needs global buy-in from regulators to give these standards teeth.
The demand for standardised reporting was evident in many discussions that the Altruistiq team had and witnessed. The panel, “Not There Yet: Truth- Testing Corporate Climate Promises”, addressed the issue of corporate greenwashing and offered critical insights into how Patagonia, Engine 1, and Greenpeace embed climate goals in their core business strategies to ensure credibility.
5. Weighted energy emphasis
The failure of the public sector to accelerate change through policy at COP26 was frustrating. Further to add to our disappointment was the narrow focus of such policies. In particular, global leaders made impressive commitments to the green energy transition, but that is only half the journey.
There was one critical topic that was conspicuously missing from the COP26 program, the circular economy. The lack of resources and waste representation in the agenda was remarkable given the crucial role it plays in underpinning efforts to reach a net-zero future. Dr. Adam Read, The President of Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) stated that the industry had been ‘overlooked and left with no seat at the table’.
After an eventful and exciting two weeks at COP26, Altruistiq is optimistic about the significant focus in the business world on sustainability. Even with many ongoing policy & global cooperation challenges, we look forward to supporting at COP27 once again.
For feedback on this article or questions related to COP26, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Altruistiq is a sustainability SaaS and helps some of the world’s largest companies to sustainably sell more, spend less, and save time.