On 4 November 2015, UNU-IAS hosted a symposium marking the announcement of the CDP Global Climate Change Report 2015 ― a highly anticipated event attended by representatives of Japanese corporations, investors, government representatives and researchers.
The meeting was opened by Duncan Sparkes (Economics, Energy & Innovation Counsellor, British Embassy). In the second of two keynote lectures, Christopher Doll (Research Fellow, UNU-IAS) outlined the models for our understanding of sustainable development. He explained that economy, environment and society are nested within each other and that an economy cannot function without people in the society and the society cannot function without the environment. However, economic development has traditionally taken priority in our decisions and has started to exert pressure on our ‘planetary boundaries’ ― a safe operating space for the humanity.
Doll also introduced a newly initiated UNU-IAS project on Low Carbon Technology Transfer which will evaluate the effectiveness of low carbon technology in developing countries. As part of this project, UNU-IAS will examine the role of international cooperation in the area of low carbon technology transfer.
Transfer of equipment, skills, capacity and innovation capacity for low carbon technologies mean different things in different locations. In the least developed countries, emphasis is put on technologies for fundamental human development. In fast growing emerging economies, technologies for minimizing energy use are needed. In addition, all economies must think not only about high efficiency of industrial production but also about the production of clean, renewable energy, as this is vital for mitigating climate change impacts.
Doll concluded by saying that investments are an important component of good business practice and that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a broad framework for aligning them with sustainability objectives. Companies will need to go beyond clean production and transition to new business models and sources of value creation that help build a sustainable world.
During the event, CDP’s James Magness introduced the results of the CDP Global Climate Change Report 2015. He noted a 50% increase in investors’ request for corporate data on climate change policies as compared to five years ago and argued that this increasing support for low carbon future is establishing a ‘new normal’. This comes as more and more investors require companies to demonstrate their commitments to low carbon future.
According to this year’s CDP report, 89% of companies that have disclosed their corporate data globally conduct activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Against this global average, as many as 98% of Japanese companies have done so, achieving the best results on all measured metrics. Moreover, 113 companies worldwide have been recognized for their corporate climate change policies and made it to the CDP Climate Change A List. Among these, seven were Japanese companies and their representatives attended the event to address the audience.
The event also included further presentations by CDP as well as a lively panel discussion where investors discussed recent trends, requirements and future projections.