Ryan Schuchard, Associate Director, Climate and Energy, BSR

At the BSR Spring Forum 2014 in Paris, I’ll lead two sessions, “Big Reductions from Big Business” and “Climate-Compatible Supply Chains,” that have one thing in common: How business can activate ambitious, creative leadership to keep global temperatures from rising above 2°C.

The climate challenge is inordinate, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently wrote. Annual greenhouse gas emissions have grown 1 gigaton per year from 2000 to 2010, with no sign of stopping. During this time, increased use of coal has actually reversed the longstanding trend of gradual decarbonization of the world’s energy supply. Without serious, proactive efforts to reverse these current trends, emissions growth is expected to lead to temperature increases of 3.7 to 4.8°C by the end of the century, with catastrophic results for people, the planet, and business.

The IPCC also makes clear that we will not effectively mitigate climate change without the participation of all sectors. In particular, private-sector involvement is crucial. Businesses often have the best understanding of how to reduce climate impacts most effectively and efficiently and have deep expertise with demographics and methods for driving behavioral change. These are critical tools, considering that the top drivers of emissions are a growing economy and expanding population.

Across sectors and geographies, companies need to rapidly and radically improve energy efficiency, which is good for the environment as well as the bottom line. They also need to triple the share of the zero‐ and low‐carbon energy supply, which means increasing the use of renewables and nuclear energy, as well as combining the use of fossil energy and bioenergy with carbon-dioxide capture and storage. Companies can achieve a more climate-friendly energy supply by helping customers use less energy, financing climate mitigation, and choosing technologies that have low greenhouse gas emissions, especially when investing in long-lived assets.

With these calls to action in mind, my two sessions will explore common themes:

  • Maximizing impact: Where can companies have the greatest effect on climate change per amount invested, and how can they identify the greatest opportunities with suppliers and business partners?
  • Creating breakthroughs: Which areas of technological innovation are needed most, and how can companies support the transition to low-carbon energy by making intelligent, high-reward bets?
  • Building scale: What processes and programs can companies use to turn small successes and pilot projects into large-scale initiatives that create emissions reductions and climate resilience?
  • Establishing Partnerships: How can companies generate the internal alignment and external collaborations needed to maximize sustainability?

At “Big Reductions from Big Business,” representatives from the International Energy Agency and Novartis Group will discuss where and how companies can make the biggest reductions. At “Climate-Compatible Supply Chains,” Acclimatise, CDP, and HP will explore the barriers that stand in the way of climate leadership in the supply chain and consider new ways to work together. I hope you will join us and weigh in on how business can be more ambitious and creative as we work together to address climate change.

 

Register for the BSR Spring Forum 2014, in Paris June 11-12, to explore emissions reductions, supply chain leadership, and other topics to catalyze bold, ambitious action by business on climate change. And for more information about BSR's climate initiative, please visit our Business in a Climate-Constrained World page, or read our anchor report