On 22 April 2016 – Earth Day – the landmark Paris Agreement will be signed by more than 150 countries. The Paris Agreement agreement will have significant consequences for business worldwide as governments establish regulations in compliance with it. “The number of countries that have indicated their intentions to attend and sign the Paris Agreement on 22 April is now up to 155,” UN Secretary General's spokesperson Farhan Haq, said in a press briefing last Friday. South Africa, Australia and Canada are counted in that number.
The Paris AgreementIn December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding, global climate deal at the Paris climate conference (COP21). This agreement – known as the Paris Agreement – sets out an action plan to put the world on track to combat climate change. According to the European Commission, the Paris Agreement aims to align current policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century. It is a long-term goal to limit the risk and impact of climate change by reducing global emissions and keeping average temperatures a maximum of 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Before and during the Paris Conference in December 2015, countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans. While collectively these are not enough to keep global warming below 2°C, the agreement paves the way to achieving this target. The Paris Agreement aims to accomplish the following goals:
- Limiting the rise of global temperatures to a maximum of 1.5°C above pre-industrial averages.
- Curtailing the amount of greenhouse gases generated by human activity to levels that trees, soil, and oceans can absorb naturally by the end of this century.
- Reviewing each country’s contribution to emissions reduction every five years so they can scale up to the challenge.
- Providing “climate financing” that will enable poorer countries to adapt to climate change and switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
What does the Paris Agreement mean for your business?In order to mitigate the associated risk of the Paris Agreement, organizations need to anticipate, and adapt to, changing climate regulations. Understanding and managing emissions requires measurement, management and reporting. This in turn requires quantifiable and verifiable information to measure performance against the business’s strategic objectives. Climate change related regulation will follow in the wake of the Paris Agreement, and all businesses will be impacted. Reporting on and accounting for greenhouse gas emissions are likely to become mandatory, as will pricing on carbon emissions. The transport sector, and by extension an organization’s supply chain, will need to improve efficiencies. This will spur the innovation of energy-efficient products and services. The financial sector will need to manage carbon risk and opportunity. Forestry and land use will to take constructive steps to halt deforestation.
IsoMetrix’s smart solutionPolitical and regulatory risks are inevitable and moving to a low-carbon economy will not be smooth and predictable. The ideal solution to manager governance, risk and compliance in a changing regulatory landscape is one that is flexible and robust. This is precisely the solution that IsoMetrix offers. The Paris Agreement will affect your business. Taking pro-active steps to manage your organization’s environmental impact and carbon-emissions will allow you to stay abreast of tumultuous changes in legislation that affect your governance, risk and compliance. The IsoMetrix Environmental Sustainability solution is an integrated web-based platform that is based on the requirements of ISO 14001 and incorporates the relevant clauses outlined in the ISO 26000 guidelines. The IsoMetrix Environmental Sustainability solution is ideal for:
- Reviewing environmental goals; analyzing environmental impacts and legal requirements.
- Setting environmental objectives and targets to reduce environmental impacts and to comply with legal requirements.
- Establishing programs to meet these objectives and targets; and monitoring and measuring progress in achieving these objectives.