Climate Leadership Framework: Helping businesses transition to a Net Zero economy

We are seeing unprecedented levels of ambition and urgency for action on climate change.

Policymakers globally are considering how and when their economies can transition to Net Zero emissions and there is a heightened public awareness of climate change issues.

Organisations too are more aware than ever of the need for bold action and we have seen a dramatic increase in corporate commitments on climate change. In fact, many of the world’s biggest corporates are moving ahead of governments and aligning their operations with the most ambitious parts of the Paris Agreement.

However, for the majority of businesses, understanding their climate change impacts and devising a strategic approach to becoming a Net Zero emissions organisation remains a significant challenge. In particular, we have found that most encounter barriers as they attempt to:

  • gain a full and detailed grasp of the risks and opportunities presented by climate change
  • gain a full understanding of whole value chain emissions with good quality reporting
  • produce a comprehensive and costed implementation plan to support commitments
  • identify the innovation and influencing actions required to overcome the barriers to achieving longer-term reductions
  • define a strategic roadmap to transition from the current business planning horizon into a future zero carbon horizon, for which significant transformative or even disruptive interventions may be required.

In our experience the reasons for this include difficulty navigating the landscape of numerous membership schemes, reporting approaches and sustainability initiatives out there, which in turn results in internal engagement challenges.

This is why we have developed the Climate Leadership Framework – it seeks to overcome this confusion by providing an overarching perspective, within which targets, standards and schemes can sit. It assesses a company’s current performance on climate change using a scorecard assessment before providing specific actions in a bespoke roadmap that is a powerful tool for engaging and influencing senior leaders within the organisation.

Ambitious approach

It is ambitious in its scope – assessing not only how a company is performing on climate change in its own operation and value chain, but also whether emissions are avoided indirectly through the use of a company’s products or services, helping other organisations go on the same journey of climate sustainability.

Yet, the process is straightforward, involving expert research using existing data along with a collaborative workshop to present the scorecard results and agree the roadmap.

The intention is that this is not a burdensome process for any company. However, it is robust and meaningful – informed by our expertise gained through almost two decades of working with companies on climate change.

The end result is a holistic overview of a company’s current position and the identification of the necessary steps to make progress and ultimately become a climate leader.

Picking up the pace

The framework, already tested by pathfinder organisations, can be seen as an internal tool, helping those who are already championing action on climate change to influence senior colleagues and elevate action on climate change within an organisation.

The workshop provides an opportunity for structured engagement, while the scorecard will be used to track progress on an ongoing basis and the roadmap can be fully embedded in strategic plans.  Setting ambitious targets today is one thing, but staying on track while adapting the business for the future is what climate leadership will be all about.

In this way, we are hopeful that it will lead to greater integration of climate change actions in corporate strategies and, ultimately, for companies to be climate leaders by helping pick up the pace of the global transition to Net Zero economies.