Yesterday the “World Business Summit on Climate Change team” sent out the summary of the summit. With all the pictures, snappy quotes and lack of concrete message it looks very much like the kind of greenwash CSR report that companies with focus on PR used to publish before standards like GRI came along.
It is surprising that a document that focus more on photos and short quotes from different people than content, is published in 2009. We have a climate crisis where radical action is needed and business usually, rightfully, ask for clarity. In this situation a document is put together, that is meant to reflect business perspective, that say nothing important. I hope people will read the document, will not take long as it might be 44 pages, but the text without all the quotes and pictures could fit on about 17 pages. The whole process is very strange and I’m sure future researchers that study the lack of action will study the WBSCC process in order to find out why.
Not sure why the full text submitted to them did not make it into the catalogue (see below for the full text). The price would have been a slightly smaller picture on the page (page 29), the gain would have been a few more concrete suggestions. Even if the suggestions are in the back of the report, and detailed suggestions where not allowed, hopefully a few policy makers could find inspiration.
Even if the WBSCC process so far is a disappointment (I still hope that follow-up events will be more specific and contribute to a more opportunity based agenda that present new ideas the really can deliver) Gordon Brown did what all serious world leaders (including business) should do, he became specific and put money behind it. Obviously it is not perfect, but it is far better than anything else out there now. It is the kind of statement that WBSCC and other business initiative can look at and see how they can support or even challenge by taking it even further. Have a look at Brown’s “Roadmap to Copenhagen” Speech here.
Below the full text submitted to WBSCC about the side event (a shorter version can be found on page 29 in the summary).
‘Creation of a low carbon economy - an opportunity’
Hosted by Novozymes /Ericsson/Suntech/WWF
• In discussing possible solutions leading up to the COP15 meeting we too often focus on incremental change of the existing industrial landscape. In other words, we talk about the size of relatively modest emission cuts for emitting companies. The focus is also almost exclusively on high carbon emitters and not on possible solution industries.
• Incremental reductions are obviously important, but it is essential to go beyond that. It is not possible to “reduce” our way to the 80 % or even 90 % reductions of GHG emissions required by 2050
• In order to reach substantial emission cuts we must create a whole new industrial landscape and not only focus on what we must do less of, but also what we need to do more of. This will require a technological shift to provide smarter ways of doing things
• Several companies and sectors are already providing low carbon solutions, which create transformational solutions that encourage further and deeper emission cuts.
• At COP15, governments must make sure to focus on solutions based on transformative technologies such as those offered by the ICT, biotech, smart building- and renewable energy generation industries as they have a huge potential in terms of mitigating climate changes.
• Climate policy must shift from the strong focus on the high carbon emitters, to also include solution industries, and companies that can offer services and solutions which have a net positive impact on global CO2 emissions, in other words are “climate positive.”
• Businesses should be encouraged to report not only their own direct emissions but also their contribution to reductions in other parts of the economy. This would allow for climate positive reporting by solution providing companies that through the sale of their products help reducing GHG emissions significantly (such as many ICT, biotech and renewable energy companies).
• Governments should shift from a product to a services perspective, applying life cycle approaches that support cradle-to-cradle strategies in business along all value chains and using ecosystem services sustainably.
• Governments must support a shift from investment in “20th century infrastructure” such as roads, airports, transmission lines and old buildings to investments that enable mass deployment of low-carbon broadband networks and smart services, or a “21st century infrastructure.