Next week marks the start of negotiations at the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26 for short), an international treaty signed by most of the world's governments in 1994 to limit global warming as the result of human activity. Subsequently, these governments agreed on a target of 1.5°C, formalising their intentions in the Paris Agreement. At COP26, governments will submit their proposals, essentially, how they plan to retool their economies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to achieve this target, and will try to seek consensus about the implications of these plans for world economy and society.
While negotiations are held by governments who are legally bound to the treaty, an important stakeholder in the whole process is the corporate sector - the engine of the economy. As such, business provides products and services that people need or want, within the rules - laws and regulations - defined by the government.
The outcomes of COP26 negotiations will define the scale of change expected from business to adapt to the implications, often referred to in the frame of 'risk' and 'opportunity'. Not all sectors will be affected equally as some are more resource intensive than others but all sectors need to critically look at their business model, their products and services, and activities, for a stress test on how they align with the 1.5°C scenario. Luckily, we are at no shortage of knowledge and information about our impact on the Earth, the risks ahead if we don't change the way we've organised our economic activity, and the solutions available to us to maintain a healthy and prosperous home.
In this context, Mambu is taking further steps to contribute to the global dialogue and action to limit global warming to 1.5°C and manage our impacts.
Mambu's Executive Committee is adopting a sustainability policy which will stipulate the guiding principles that will support and safeguard sustainability at Mambu and tables our commitments across four key areas - environmental footprint, employee empowerment, sustainable digital finance, and governance. The policy builds on recommendations set out in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the GRI Standards, and industry best practice.
Securing governance of sustainability from C-suite
Transitions to sustainability bear an implicit conflict between growth and balance - ignoring this conflict sets the ground for incremental improvements at best and unrealistic claims at worst. To achieve meaningful reductions and manage other sustainability impacts, Mambu is establishing a Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Committee comprising members of executive leadership. The committee will oversee the management of Mambu's corporate responsibility matters and sustainability impacts, report on any issues and progress to the Mambu board, and support public sustainability reporting efforts.
Cutting emissions by 2024
We began measuring our GHG emissions from 2019. The 2020 pandemic year brought in a few fluctuations but the trend and key sources of emissions are clear. We are now taking the next step and have submitted a letter of commitment to the Science-Based Targets Initiative to reduce GHG emissions across all three scopes in line with the 1.5°C emissions scenario. Beyond this, we are developing a portfolio of measures to neutralise unavoidable emissions to reach net-zero no later than 2050.
Seven years is the window left to act as determined by the IPCC, the global authoritative body assessing the impacts of climate change and advising governments on climate policies. If not, human activity will emit a critical volume of emissions that will snap the resiliency of our climate system out of control, with effects taking place within our lifetime. But change doesn't happen if the urgency of climate change is not widely recognised. To address this gap, we have put together a mandatory course on sustainability at Mambu - providing foundations on ecology and climate change, historic context of sustainability and latest developments, and, importantly, examples of how sustainability relates to our everyday activities and the steps all Mambuvians can take. Members of executive leadership were the first to take the course.
There are different views on what will make a successful outcome of COP26 negotiations in Glasgow - some set the bar low given the complexity of the climate emergency and suggest "COP26 succeeds if it doesn't fail", others hope governments will come to a breakthrough consensus on major negotiating points. Irrespective, there are a myriad of ways in which the corporate sector can take action already - and that makes for an optimistic perspective.