Amid the Pandemic, How Can Businesses Not Lose Sight of Climate Change?

By District Energy posted 06-11-2020 11:12




During the coronavirus crisis, corporates face a tough decision: Amid squeezed profits, should they keep pursuing efforts to shrink their climate impacts, or put decarbonisation strategies on the back burner?

While it may be tempting to allow climate change to slip off the agenda, experts said companies should ask themselves whether they can afford to let that happen when shifting economic and political tides pose existential risks to climate-disrupting businesses in a post-pandemic world.

Speaking at the Ricoh Eco Action Day 2020 Panel titled The race to net zero on Tuesday (2 June), the experts said charting strategic decarbonisation plans now could make the difference between being future-ready once the pandemic passes and being left behind as consumer behaviour shift, climate policies change and novel low-carbon technologies emerge.

Held by imaging and electronics company Ricoh Group as part of Singapore’s longest-running environmental initiative, Eco Action Day, the virtual dialogue brought together industry players, government representatives, energy providers and sustainability experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities in corporate decarbonisation.

“It is unrealistic to expect companies to turn away from their core business at this point in time. You would not expect them to start prioritising things that are really innovative and really disruptive, but you would expect them to do some planning about what comes next. They need to start to think about the risks they could face in more detail,” said William Hudson, head of South East Asia at sustainability consultancy The Carbon Trust.

“We should guard against climate action being sidelined, delayed or postponed because of this pandemic. If Covid-19 is a disruption, then climate change is surely a longer-lasting and more severe disruption,” said Tan Kok Yam, deputy secretary of Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Office in the Prime Minister’s Office.

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