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There is great uncertainty for all businesses in the coming months. For now, business as usual is compromised and we need to find a way to take make the best of this situation.

For businesses, the issue of sustainability is more painfully clear now than ever before. Along with the threat of economic collapse, we face issues of health and well-being; a climate crisis; environmental disaster; as well as persistent social issues. These are best encapsulated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

What is sustainability in business? 

Understanding sustainability in the context of your business will enable you to take a holistic view on the impact of your business: both by your products and services, and your operations.

By taking account of these impacts, sustainability will improve your products and services, your business operations, and the environment & society.

The benefits to you

3 Easy Steps Towards Sustainability

ESI Monitor have proposed 3 easy steps for businesses to take during this economic downtime to strengthen their future sustainability, brand image, customer loyalty, recruitment and retention.

 

1.Understand the SDGs

The SDG Action Manager by UN Global Compact and B Labs is a fantastic free tool that allows you to map your business to the SDGs. What’s more, it gives you feedback on how to improve. Create an account now and start the transition!

 

2.Enrol in the ESI Monitor accreditations

ESI Monitor has two accreditations: The Community Champion Award, and The Environmental Business Operations Award.

The Community Champion Award

This is designed to measure and increase the amount of support that businesses provide to their local community. Businesses that participate will receive quarterly benchmarking data on their performance compared to other businesses in their own industry, as well as interesting comparisons to other industries.

The aim of the award is to reward those businesses that contribute most, and encourage other businesses to attain higher standards. Major adoption will see a significant increase in contributions from the business community to the third sector.

In these trying times, more pressure than ever will be put on the third sector to support those that have been impacted by the effects of COVID-19, whether physically, socially, or economically. We believe that it is the role of businesses to give back to their community in whichever way possible, but now more than ever it is time for businesses to act for the good of our community.

The Environmental Business Operations Award

This is designed to help businesses understand and measure the environmental impact of their businesses operations, as well as supporting businesses to sustainably minimise and manage that impact.

At the end of the accreditation the business will receive either a gold, silver, or bronze certification. Most importantly, the business will also receive increasingly important data about their carbon footprint, environmental footprint, and their performance against particular Sustainable Development Goals. For a business that is taking their commitment to ESG seriously, this information is paramount for insuring transparency, building trust, and showing to your customers and stakeholders that your business is serious about sustainable development.

 

3.Take pride in sustainability and make your own value from it

Coronavirus poses threat to climate action, says watchdog

IEA warns that Covid-19 could cause a slowdown in world’s clean energy transition

 The coming year could mark the first fall in solar power growth since the 1980s.

The coronavirus health crisis may lead to a slump in global carbon emissions this year but the outbreak poses a threat to long-term climate action by undermining investment in clean energy, according to the global energy watchdog.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects the economic fallout of Covid-19 to wipe out the world’s oil demand growth for the year ahead, which should cap the fossil fuel emissions that contribute to the climate crisis.

But Fatih Birol, IEA’s executive director, has warned the outbreak could spell a slowdown in the world’s clean energy transition unless governments use green investments to help support economic growth through the global slowdown.

The virus has stoked fears of a global economic recession and helped to ignite one of the sharpest oil price collapses in the last 30 years, wiping billions of dollars from the world’s largest energy companies.

The economic contagion is likely to stall many infrastructure projects, including the multibillion-dollar investments in clean energy needed to avert a climate catastrophe by the end of the decade.

The year ahead could mark the first time the world’s solar power growth falls since the 1980s, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The analysts on Thursday slashed forecasts for new solar power projects by 8%. It expected sales of electric vehicles to stall too.

“We should not allow today’s crisis to compromise the clean energy transition,” Birol said. He said global governments should use the economic stimulus packages which are being planned to help countries weather the downturn to invest in clean energy technologies.

He added: “We have an important window of opportunity. Major economies around the world are preparing stimulus packages. A well designed stimulus package could offer economic benefits and facilitate a turnover of energy capital which have huge benefits for the clean energy transition.”

The IEA’s analysis has shown 70% of the world’s clean energy investments are government-driven, either through direct government finance or in response to policies such as subsidies or taxes. The watchdog has also found government fossil fuel subsidies total $400bn (£300bn) each year.

Birol urged global governments to invest in energy efficiency measures, which might not offer good short-term returns while energy prices are low but would prove a lucrative investment in the longer-term.

The IEA head also urged policymakers to use the downturn in global oil prices to phase out or scrap fossil fuels subsidies, which could be used to boost healthcare spending.

“These challenging market conditions will be a clear test for government commitments,” he said. “But the good news is that compared to economic stimulus packages of the past we have much cheaper renewable technologies, have made major progress in electric vehicles, and there is a supportive financial community for the clean energy transition.

“If the right policies are put in place there are opportunities to make the best of this situation,” he added.

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https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/12/coronovirus-poses-threat-to-climate-action-says-watchdog