Monday, November 25, 2013

Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy

The Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy provides guidelines for business to communicate effectively, responsibly and transparently. It is designed to help companies to manage and report on their direct and indirect influences on climate policy. In addition to guidance, the report also makes a compelling business case for responsible corporate engagement in the climate arena. This guide and report was produced by  the UN Global Compact, in cooperation with seven leading international organizations.

The Guide to Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy is the result of research and interviews with more than 75 business and policy leaders from more than 60 organizations across 20 countries. It was highlighted on November 19 at a special session of the inaugural Caring for Climate Business Forum during COP19 in Warsaw.

The Guide sets baseline expectations for companies to provide proactive, constructive input for Governments to create effective climate policies. It helps companies to connect the dots between sustainability commitments, such as emissions reductions across their value chains and efficiency improvements, with their corporate policy positions.

Businesses and investors are also becoming more aware of the risks of climate change, and want clear and consistent climate policies in place to create a productive operating environment. However, according to a UN Global Compact survey, only 30 percent of companies have aligned their traditional government affairs activities with their corporate responsibility commitments.

"When it comes to climate policy, many leading businesses are struggling to match their words and their actions. This report finds that seven of 10 businesses have not fully aligned their sustainability goals with government affairs practices," said Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute. "Those businesses that are serious about addressing climate change will follow the actions in this guide." 

The report makes the point that consistent, responsible positions and making them public in a clear and transparent fashion will help in the execution of corporate strategy and planning. Such actions will bolster trusting relationships with governments as well as the public. In addition to reducing the prospects of regulatory surprises, responsible corporate engagement also enhances shareholder value and investor relations. This in turn attracts and allocate financial resources. Such policies act as a bulwark for the company against the future impact of climate change.

As reviewed by Georg Kell, the executive director of UN Global Compact in a Guardian article climate change is likely to exacerbate inequality, place pressure on access to water, food and other resources. We are also likely to see additional pressures from climate refugees and increased social tensions and conflict.

The short list of critical global challenges includes water, food, energy, health, migration and response to humanitarian disasters.

Three practical actions for companies:

· Identify the company’s opportunity and legitimacy by creating an inventory of its influences on climate policy
· Align its positions and influences to ensure consistency and accountability
· Report on climate change policy influences, intentions and outcomes using a three-tiered framework for transparency.

"The time is ripe for enlightened business leaders to scale up corporate sustainability by engaging responsibly on climate policy, ultimately helping to drive energy efficiency, renewables and technology in a low-carbon economy,” said Kell.

Click here to download the Guide to Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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