Business Innovation Paves the Way to a Sustainable Future

by Andrew Higham, CEO of Mission 2020
May 31, 2017 7:55 AM ET

We are at the brink of a new era of digital transformation and global connectivity. By 2020, more people will have mobile phones than have electricity or running water in their homes or villages, connecting billions of people in unprecedented ways. The pace of technology is also opening up new ways of tracking resources, increasing efficiencies, and accelerating our irreversible path to a decarbonized world.

Technological disruption will have a major impact on the private sector, forcing companies to reevaluate their business models as customer demands change, investors consider environmental externalities, and operations transform. Companies committed to a low-carbon future are already seeing the benefits–from increased innovation, to reduced regulatory uncertainty, strengthened investor confidence and improved profitability and competitiveness.

Leading this transition are those driving impact beyond their own operations by using their spending clout to deliver the large-scale, rapid change that is needed throughout their value chain.

Today, as the U.S. Administration prepares to travel to Italy to meet with G7 leaders, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) released a comprehensive supply chain management program based on climate science, which will provide their suppliers with the tools they need to develop a customized plan to reduce their own emissions and drives a global standard for supplier GHG engagement and abatement. This industry-leading program will act as a model for the industry and the world.

These acts of dedicated, broad participation, and real leadership from the world’s biggest businesses are becoming increasingly significant as the impacts of climate change begin to ratchet up across the Arctic and Antarctic and at the Great Barrier Reef.

Cross-sector and public-private collaboration is imperative to scale up environmental solutions, and help shape and support delivery of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. In order to secure the promise of Paris and to meet the SDG’s science has told us we must bend the curve of emissions by 2020 – our climate turning point.

With the scale and speed of innovation today, reaching the climate turning point and meeting our goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 no longer seems impossible, but in fact is increasingly realistic.

New cost-effective technologies are driving a global economy that could end our dependence on fossil fuels and indeed, Carbon Tracker recently predicted oil and coal demand will peak as early as 2020.

We must work together to shepherd this global transformation to ensure the betterment of all people. It is time to refocus our efforts away from the problems of the past, to address the rapidly developing, innovative systems of the future and meet the climate turning point at 2020.