Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Road to Copenhagen (COP 15): Positioning Your Business

Whether to escape the kind of direct pressure we are seeing at the latest round of G20 talks or simply to be more competitive, businesses need to consider the ways they can adjust ahead of pending regulation on climate change. UN delegates are meeting in Bonn again today to continue to work out the details of a post Kyoto climate change treaty.

Within the next year we can expect to see some form of global treaty on climate change (see Timetable). In this trying economy, businesses need to be prepared to manage the major changes that are on the way.

Although the details of climate change regulation will likely differ depending on your industry and where you are located, it is clear that energy management is at the center of a post Kyoto UN climate deal.

To position your business ahead of COP 15, it is well advised to consider the impact climate change regulation will have on your business. Try to anticipate how you will function with higher energy costs, then depending on the amount of energy you use, factor costs from the carbon associated with that energy use. Make sure you consider indirect effects like how your suppliers will be impacted. Some businesses will need to carefully examine their supply chain to ascertain how regulations upstream could effect costs or create problems in their supply. Investigate the ways in which emission caps and trading could effect your company and your industry.

Perhaps most importantly businesses can get involved by contributing to the discussion. Now is the time for companies to engage the issues and help shape climate policy. Get involved with different standards groups, particularly those that address your supply chain and how carbon footprinting is measured.

Consider the ways in which innovation could reduce your energy requirements in your production processes and other cores activities. Understanding the issues will enable you to begin planning a strategy and properly positioning your business will give you a competitive advantage over firms that wait for the legislation to drop before responding.

To inform yourself about the major issues being discussed at UN Climate Change Conferences see the implications for business. Keep abreast of the latest developments at UN Climate Change discussion go to UNFCC press headlines, COP 15 News, UN News Centre, Earth Negotiations Bulletin, Climate Action Network, and Third World Network. See guidance on GHG emissions footprinting at the World Resources Institute (WRI) website.

Assess and lower emissions using the tools, information and resources in the Green Link Library to the right. Stay ahead of the risk by conducting broad policy assessments of sociopolitical situations, using resources like the Economist Intelligence Unit, the International Country Risk Guide, Business Environment Risk Intelligence, and S. J. Rundt & Associates.

Next: G20 Protests

No comments: