The UN General Assembly held an event to mark the first anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals on Tuesday ©UN Photo/Cia Pak
The UN General Assembly held an event to mark the first anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals on Tuesday ©UN Photo/Cia Pak

Firms can 'rock the world' in fight against climate change

Firms have the capability to "rock the world" in the battle against climate change but challenges remain around scaling up solutions.

That was the message from classification and certification company DNV GL as it released a report on progress against climate change goals on the first anniversary of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The launch in New York also took place as world leaders attended the 71st session of the UN General Assembly.

The report warned “extraordinary action” was needed to meet the SDGs, which cover poverty, the environment and development, by 2030.

Remi Eriksen, group president and CEO of DNV GL, said: “For the most part, business has the technology, people and processes to rock the world.

“The challenge, therefore, isn’t the smarts, it’s the take-up of the solutions proposed and piloted; the real scaling of these interventions.”

The launch took place during Climate Week NYC, an annual event bringing together businesses and investors to work towards net zero emissions, where Apple pledged to work with its manufacturing suppliers to increase the use of renewable energy in its supply chains.

While progress is being made towards most of the goals, the report said none of the 17 SDGs would be met in all of the regions, and no single region was on track to achieve all of the goals by 2030.

The report also said insufficient progress on climate change could be a “showstopper” for the rest of the development goals. “Climate change and poverty cannot be decoupled,” it said.

Although the report predicted growth in energy demand would level off from 2030, it said the planet was likely to hit the “carbon budget” by 2037, the amount of emissions that can be released before global temperatures rise two degrees C over preindustrial levels.

“Renewable energy will double its share after 2030 and provide half of the energy used by the world in 2050, but the world will still burn unsustainable levels of coal, oil and gas,” it said.

However, the report called for optimism and said businesses were best placed to innovate and “lead technological development that can leverage vast, global changes”.

On Tuesday Apple said it had joined RE100, a renewable energy initiative, and said it was working with suppliers of lens technologies, antennas and aluminium enclosures to increase their use of renewables.

Lisa Jackson, Apple vice president for environment, policy and social initiatives, said: “We’re excited to share the industry-leading work we've been doing to drive renewable energy into the manufacturing supply chain, and look forward to partnering with RE100 to advocate for clean-energy policies around the world.”

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