New BSR Research, Strategy to Mobilize Ambitious Global Business Action on Climate and Energy
SAN FRANCISCO, April 22, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Two new BSR reports, published on Earth Day, offer practical guidance for global business to build climate resilience by investing in ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced adaptation strategies.
These reports are tied to BSR’s flagship Business in a Climate-Constrained World initiative, developed to spur ambitious, systemic business leadership on mitigating and building resilience to climate impacts. The initiative’s twofold goal is to “avoid the unmanageable,” or hold global mean temperature rises below 2°C above preindustrial levels to avoid dangerous climate impacts, and to “manage the unavoidable,” or address the climate impacts that are already locked in.
“It’s time to design and implement ambitious actions that match the scale and urgency of the climate challenge,” said BSR Senior Vice President Eric Olson. “To be successful, these bold actions must be aimed at systemic solutions and undertaken in collaboration with other key actors in the system, including government, academia, and civil society.”
BSR’s first report, “Business in a Climate-Constrained World: Catalyzing a Climate-Resilient Future through the Power of the Private Sector,” sets forth BSR’s theory of change for business action on climate. This involves translating climate risks for business, building an “architecture of participation” for climate action, and stabilizing the climate system through “resilience wedges” that BSR is developing across eight industries.
BSR’s second report, “Transition to Low-Carbon Fuel: A Business Guide for Sustainable Trucking in North America,” provides a concrete application of this theory of change with specific guidance for the commercial trucking industry to address the climate impacts of transportation fuels, which contribute more than 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Business in a Climate-Constrained World
“Business in a Climate-Constrained World: Catalyzing a Climate-Resilient Future through the Power of the Private Sector,” outlines BSR’s new strategy to mobilize its business network, global reach, industry insights, and issue expertise in support of aggressive and sustained business action on climate change.
The report finds that business is increasingly exposed to risks from climate change, with some estimates putting the cumulative global cost as high as US$4 trillion by 2030. “Building resilience, which combines ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reductions with enhanced adaptive capacity, is the key approach for business in this crucial decade,” said the report’s lead author, BSR Partnership Development and Research Director Edward Cameron.
While many businesses are already beginning to act—with 84 percent of Global 500 companies reporting that they have emissions-reductions targets, and 75 percent reporting that they have already reduced emissions in some areas of their business—the report highlights the need for a greater commitment to ambition to match the volume of activity.
To address this gap in the level of corporate ambition on climate, BSR proposes a three-part strategy:
- Translate climate risks for business.
- Invest in collaboration to create an “architecture of participation” for climate action, allowing industries and other stakeholders to help each other and the communities in which they operate.
- Stabilize the climate system through “resilience wedges” proposed by BSR. These wedges—which BSR will develop based on the stabilization wedges created by Princeton University professors Robert Socolow and Stephen Pacala—will identify meaningful action through manageable steps related to both greenhouse gas emissions mitigation and adaptation across eight industry clusters: consumer products, food/beverage/agriculture, energy and extractives, information and communications technology, healthcare, financial services, transportation and logistics, and travel and tourism.
“The wedges approach does not require us to wait for breakthrough energy technologies or other technological or policy silver bullets,” Cameron said. “We can act with urgency and ambition right now.”
Future of Fuels
Developed by BSR’s Future of Fuels working group, “Transitioning to Low-Carbon Fuel: A Business Guide for Sustainable Trucking in North America” provides guidance for companies to transition to low-carbon transportation fuel, with a focus on trucking fleet operators and their partners in North America.
“Transportation fuel is responsible for more than 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the biggest impacts on climate change,” said the report’s lead author, BSR Climate and Energy Associate Director Ryan Schuchard. “Experts project that in the United States, the carbon-heavy fuel mix will essentially stay the same over the next 20 years if we don’t act now to accelerate the transition to low-carbon fuels.”
The report finds that even though many truckers are committed to sustainability and have adopted measures that improve the sustainability of their fleets, they face five main challenges: The marketplace is undergoing profound changes, sustainable fuels are not yet scalable, the sustainability issues involved with fuels are multifaceted, fuel sustainability standards are underdeveloped, and key stakeholders disagree about the path to progress.
The new Future of Fuels report recommends that companies address these challenges through a portfolio of strategies, including investment in technology, active participation in the development of scalable solutions, a focus on decarbonizing fuels while addressing sustainability issues more widely, the development of standards that improve truckers’ ability to manage fuel sustainability, and incorporation of diverse stakeholder perspectives into fuel strategies.
The guide outlines four concrete steps for commercial truckers and fleet operators to transition to low-carbon fuel:
- Understand your total fuel footprint.
- Optimize your use of available fuel and vehicles.
- Collaborate to enable new low-carbon solutions.
- Advocate for a better policy environment.
The report was developed by BSR’s Future of Fuels working group, a collaboration of companies that include pioneering fleet operators like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart, which are working together to create a transportation fuel system that is more sustainable, resilient, and affordable. The guide builds on BSR’s 2012 report, “The Sustainability Impacts of Fuel: Understanding the Total Sustainability Impacts of Commercial Transportation Fuels,” which assesses the total sustainability impacts of commercial transportation fuels as well as the market outlook for a complete range of fuel types.
“The concept of a cross-fuel, lifecycle roadmap for fleet operators is new, but there is a wide variety of tools and approaches to draw from, including fleet-efficiency management, lifecycle assessment, supplier engagement, and policy advocacy,” said Schuchard. “The framework provided in our guide draws connections among the many good case studies and resources that already exist.”
Upcoming BSR Climate and Energy Events
Through Business in a Climate-Constrained World, Future of Fuels, and BSR’s other climate-related work, there are several opportunities for members of the media and other stakeholders to engage with our work:
- A Dialogue on Business in a Climate-Constrained World | 6-9 p.m. April 24 | New York: This panel discussion—moderated by Bloomberg.com Sustainability Editor Eric Roston and featuring BNY Mellon CSR Managing Director John Buckley, Pfizer Inc. Environmental Law Group Senior Corporate Counsel Sally R. K. Fisk, and Refugees International Climate Displacement Program Manager Alice Thomas—will explore how the private sector can collaborate on climate leadership.
- Future of Fuels’ “Bringing Better Transportation Fuels to Scale: Opportunities for Collaboration” at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) 2014 Expo | 3-7:30 p.m. May 8 | Long Beach, California: This event—one of BSR’s Future of Fuels working group’s biannual meetings—will include speakers from major fleet operators, fuel producers, vehicle manufacturers, scientists, civil society, and governments to discuss sustainable transportation fuels. It takes place during ACT 2014, North America’s largest clean fleet expo.
- BSR Spring Forum 2014: Climate Action: The Urgency of Business Leadership | June 11-12 | Paris: This event will gather business, civil society, and government leaders to identify practical, shared opportunities for impact on climate in the lead-up to the COP 21 climate negotiations in 2015. Plenary speakers include Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs, Kering; Colin le Duc, Partner, Generation Investment Management LLP; Simon Maxwell, Executive Chair, Climate and Development Knowledge Network; Johannes Meier, Chief Executive Officer, European Climate Foundation; and Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice-Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- BSR Conference 2014 | November 4-6 | New York: The BSR Conference 2014, “Transparency and Transformation,” will feature a track on climate and energy, with plenary speakers including Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo; Karl-Johan Persson, Managing Director and CEO of H & M Hennes & Mauritz; and Nils S. Andersen, Group CEO of A.P. Moller - Maersk Group.
“BSR has set ambitious goals for itself for this initiative,” Olson said. “If we are successful, by 2020, business leadership on climate change will contribute to effective programs that promise to hold projected global average temperature rises below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and BSR members across our eight industry sectors will be taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build adaptive capacity.”
BSR works with its global network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit www.bsr.org for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.