Will we achieve 80-95% GHG emissions reductions by 2050? Only with radical change. That’s why the Word Resources Institute’s recently launched Next Practice Collaborative is exploring new finance and business models for a carbon-constrained economy.
‘Next Practice’, a term coined by business thinker CK Prahalad, means benchmarking corporate performance against tomorrow’s emerging opportunities. It’s a way of comparing how future economic leaders will meet global demands for resources like energy and water while reducing greenhouse gas concentrations and enabling climate-resilient development at a pace and scale never before achieved. Tricky.
The WRI is working with a cross-sector group of companies including Akzo Nobel, Alcoa, CEMEX, Johnson & Johnson, Siemens, Staples and United Technologies Corporation. With input from expert advisors, the group will examine new business and finance models for low-carbon economic growth in major markets like the United States, China, Mexico, India and Brazil.
Groups like WWF Climate Savers and CDP’s Carbon Disclosure Leadership and Performance Leadership Indices are already championing corporates with excellent target setting, reporting, carbon reduction, supply chain management and policy engagement. Of course these are great initiatives but far deeper change is needed to reach the ultimate, radical goal of a global low carbon economy.
The WRI recognises that to achieve an 80 to 95% reduction in GHG emissions, corporates must deliver transformative business models which include contributing to adaptation in poor countries as well as implementing adaptation and mitigation measures themselves, developing products and services that reduce vulnerability to climate change, factoring climate change risk into long term decision making and completing the transition to low carbon energy sources. That’s a daunting to-do list and if achieved, will show how sustainability, or at least climate change, has made it to the heart of the business agenda.