If you or your organisation are keen to recognise that there is a climate emergency with clear evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments and reports that climate change is a real thing but don’t know how to start.
In this article, I share the process that I went through to determine the available options to make a public declaration of a climate emergency & the process that I went through to help me and my company to declare a Climate Emergency and highlights a sample of the available resources.
Other articles in this series of seven articles will look at how to make a public declaration, what I did after making my declaration, setting science-based targets, calculating my carbon footprint & offsetting any unavoidable emissions.
Initial Thoughts on declaring a Climate Emergency
My initial recognition was that, as my company is an environmental consultancy, I am keenly aware of the environmental and climate impact of the delivery of my services to my clients & the support to my clients to help them realise improved environmental performance.
Over the past eleven years of delivering environmental consultancy through onePlanet Solutions Limited, I have striven to provide our services in the most environmentally and climate-friendly manner possible.
Few will doubt that serious action is needed to address the climate emergency, it requires all organisations to contribute and, in many cases, to transition their own operations to be low-carbon and climate-friendly.
Given that my company and I were committed to this path, we then looked at the available options to make a formal climate emergency declaration.
Options for declaring a Climate Emergency
Here, I share the resources that I considered in the preparation of my declaration. Other sites and campaigns may be available in your country or industrial sector, so leave a comment in the box, below.
Business Declares is a not-for-profit organisation formed by senior leaders with a vast range of experience from the SME, B Corp and FTSE100 sectors. They believe that business has a major part to play in tackling the climate, ecological and social emergency.
They ask for six steps to demonstrate commitment to authentic climate action to:
Publicly declare a climate, ecological and social emergency and join Business Declares.
To set a net zero target as close as possible to, or sooner than, 2030, covering Scope 1 & 2 to limit global warming to 1.5°C in-line with the Paris Agreement
Consider how to reduce Scope 3 impacts, create and implement a strategy and mitigation plan to achieve Scope 3 net zero as close as possible to 2030 and before 2050.
Consider and implement a strategy for how your business will address the biodiversity/ecological crisis as part of its broader declaration and action.
Create and implement a Climate Action Plan with clear actions toward achieving net zero targets and biodiversity improvements.
And, finally, support Business Declares’ advocacy efforts, by engaging within the Business Declares’ network.
Business Declares has a wide range of members covering smaller environmental consultancies, Financial Institutions and name brands, such as The Body Shop.
You can access their website here – https://businessdeclares.com/
The B-Corporation website, which promotes businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance. Whilst the website does not specifically have a process for a “standalone” declaration of a climate emergency, there is much here if you want your organisation to become a B-Corp.
They have a resource on their UK B-Lab microsite with an opportunity to download a playbook on “How to Declare a Climate Emergency” in exchange for your name and e-mail address. This playbook is in its second edition and includes case studies about businesses that have declared a climate emergency and a deeper series of approaches about how to engage with key departments.
You can access the playbook here – https://pardot.bcorporation.net/climateemergencyplaybook
Climate Neutral Now
Climate Neutral Now is an initiative launched by UN Climate Change to encourage everyone in society to take action to help achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement.
Launches in 2015, it invites organizations, governments and citizens to work towards global climate neutrality by addressing their own climate footprint through a three-step method: Measure, Reduce Contribute) to measure their GHG emissions, reduce them and compensate using carbon credits, where they cannot be avoided. Each participant is required to report on its actions and achievements annually. Currently, it has over 625 participants with a geographical spread across the globe.
You can access their website at Climate Neutral Now – https://unfccc.int/climate-action/climate-neutral-now
UK Architects Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency
A specialised website for UK -based Architects to declare their Climate Emergency with 1,234 practices, who have declared as at time of this video (26 July 2022).
Their sister site: Built Environment Declares advocates for Structural, Civil and Building Services Engineering practices, Landscape Architects, Contractors, Interior Designers, Suppliers and Project Managers in the UK and internationally, amounting to 1,000 practices globally.
You can access their website at UK Architects Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency – https://www.architectsdeclare.com/
Declare a Climate Emergency
This website is a useful resource for identifying Governmental organisations, such as the NHS, Universities and Local Councils, who have declared their Climate Emergency with additional resources and commentary on News items and political policies from the major Political Parties.
You can access their website at Declare a Climate Emergency – https://www.climateemergency.uk/
Pledge to Net Zero
This website has been opened after this article was first published (7 November 2019) & has been established to commit organisations from the environmental sector to take a leadership role in the transition to a Net Zero carbon economy.
It has been co-founded by the Society for the Environment (SocEnv), the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), together with leading environmental consultancies WSP and AECOM.
The pledge requires commitment to three steps:
To set and commit to deliver a greenhouse gas target in line with either a 1.5°C (encouraged) or well below 2°C climate change scenario covering buildings and travel as a minimum.
Publicly report greenhouse gas emissions and progress against this target each year.
Publish one piece of research/thought-leadership each year on practical steps to delivering an economy in line with climate science and in support of net zero carbon. An alternative is to provide mentoring and support for smaller signatory companies in setting targets, reporting and meeting the requirements of the pledge.
You can access their website at Pledge to Net Zero – https://www.pledgetonetzero.org/
Race to Zero
The Business Declares, B-Corporation, Climate Neutral Now & Pledge to Net Zero campaigns are, additionally, signatories to the United Nation’s Race to Zero campaign, which means that there is further recognition of a declaration of a climate emergency.
In my next article in this series, I will update on which of the campaigns, that I chose, to declare a climate emergency and the practical steps that I have taken to declare the Climate Emergency on behalf of my business, onePlanet Solutions Limited.
If this article has helped to advance your understanding of options for declaring a climate emergency, please leave a comment in the box below, if this video has help you.
If you enjoyed this article, you should check out our YouTube Channel – EMSmastery, where you can watch our videos, such as our video accompanying this article on Seven options to declare a Climate Emergency and subscribe in our YouTube channel for new videos released each week.
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