Monday, September 1, 2014

Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy

In addition to making a compelling case for responsible climate engagement, this document contains guidelines for business to communicate effectively, responsibly and transparently on climate issues. This guide helps companies to manage and report on their direct and indirect influences on climate policy. It was put together by the UN Global Compact, in cooperation with seven leading international organizations.

As explained by Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute, "Those businesses that are serious about addressing climate change will follow the actions in this guide." 

There is much work to be done as is evidenced by the fact that less than one third of companies have aligned their traditional government affairs activities with their corporate responsibility commitments. This includes acting on climate change which is a complex global cross-cutting challenge that encompasses water, food, energy, health, migration and response to humanitarian disasters.

The Guide 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 at a special session of the inaugural Caring for Climate Business Forum during COP19, on November 19, 2013 in Warsaw, Poland.

As explained by the executive director of UN Global Compact, Georg Kell in a Guardian article:
"Taking consistent, responsible positions and making them public in a clear and transparent fashion will help in the execution of corporate strategy and planning, taking future market changes into account. Relationships of trust with governments as well as the public are bolstered, and the prospect of regulatory surprises is reduced. Shareholder value and investor relations are enhanced, enabling a company to more effectively attract and allocate financial resources. And policies that are effectively promoted will act as a bulwark for the company against the future impact of climate change....Moreover, as climate change is likely to exacerbate inequality, place pressure on access to water and other resources, create sudden pockets of hunger, and force new population movements, peace and stability are also at stake."
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.

“Engagement by the private sector that is collaborative, serious and solutions-oriented is vital, and can help ensure widespread support for sustainability, climate action and broader UN goals. With leading technological and social innovations already in place, there is enormous potential to produce results if greater scale is achieved,” said  Kell. “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.” 

To address calls for alignment by business, investors and other stakeholders, the guide establishes the core elements of responsible corporate engagement and translates that into three practical actions for companies to provide a constructive and positive voice on climate policy:
  • 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; and
  • Report on climate change policy influences, intentions and outcomes using a three-tiered framework for transparency.
The business case for companies to engage responsibly in climate policy has strengthened as companies are increasingly asked to track and report their policy positions. Responsible corporate engagement can help a company to execute on its corporate strategy; create trusted relationships with Government and generate regulatory certainty; enhance shareholder value; build and sustain public and stakeholder trust; and promote policies that protect against impacts from climate change.

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

No comments: