Climate change is no more a concept or a theory. There is enough out there to suggest that the pace at which humans are destroying the world is inversely proportional to the effort we are putting in to save it. Teenaged Greta Thunberg said it like no one else before. She told the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 that she was ashamed of them for doing so little while promising so much more.
Her speech “How dare you” shook the world and re-invigorated the debate. Joining her is the Indian Climate change activist Ridhima Pandey is also one of the 16 petitioners at the UN Climate Action Summit. She asks the same question to the government and people, “When will they wake up”.
She too blames the government who has bigger commitments to make in their speeches and on paper, but there is only 10% work done on ground. In a video published on the Quint, she urges government to talk less and work more.
Clearly, we are seeing a lot of activism stemming up to take an action on the rapidly deteriorating climatic conditions, especially the youth taking stand, and to a great extent, it is required. However, is that enough? Activism can only be a push to embark the process of change but can not drive the change. So, the question is- what route do we need to undertake?
Going Beyond Activism and Voluntary Corporate Actions
In a recently published article by Harvard Business Review, the business world has started reacting towards climate crisis. The article said hundreds of the world’s largest companies have agreed to use 100% renewable energy and set targets to reduce emissions at the pace that science demands.
Companies have started buying many gigawatts of renewable energy, cutting down their energy consumption. A article published by Mckinsey said Volkswagen is investing 1 billion Euros in renewable-energy projects and is aiming to power its manufacturing sites mainly through on-site production.
However, we need to take the step beyond the voluntary or sweet-will based corporate actions won’t fully solve the problem. The business organisations have a very powerful tool with them which they can use to fight the climate change, that is- political influence.
There are several large organisations across the globe holding a good amount of influence on policymakers. An advertisement published in the New York Times calls for businesses to advocate for policies, at all levels of government, that are consistent with what climate science is telling us we need to do — what they’re calling a “science-based climate policy agenda.” The statement also calls for companies to adjust their trade associations’ advocacy to align with climate science.
According to a report by EDF, most of the corporate climate leadership rankings overlook policy advocacy, and argue that this is a huge “blind spot” for any true measure of a company’s contribution to climate change solutions. While companies take the action to reduce the emissions on their part, public policy can elevate these efforts to the scale and pace of emissions reductions needed to mitigate climate change.
The political influence of climate-forward businesses with long histories of successful lobbying on other industry-specific issues can lend climate policies the credibility they need to achieve lasting impact.
Given the kind of crisis we are facing at the moment in terms of global warming and other climatic crisis, the time has come when discussions along with actions and implementation are needed to have an impact. Climate change is real and hence, the real actions are what will bring the change. Also, along with exercising influence on the decision makers, the businesses must bring transparency in their words and actions.