Exploring the influence and impact of business on climate policy and development

Tuesday 6 March 2012 13:00 to 14:30
IDS Convening Space

Jonathan Shopley explored the degree to which business is engaged with policy makers and is crafting strategies which can deliver a low-carbon economy – and doing so in ways that address the world’s poor in nations where emissions are small but which are disproportionately exposed to the impacts of climate change.

Listen to the speakers

Listen to Jonathan Shopley (speaker), Hubert Schmitz (moderator) and Robbie Watt (attendee) discuss what they think are challenges and opportunities that arise from climate policy/change; how they think climate change has impacted the behaviour of business and what they learnt from the seminar. Hear the interviews on Mixcloud above.

Key points from the seminar

  • The Carbon Neutral Company encourages businesses to decrease their carbon emissions as much as possible. However, for many organisations there is a limit to how much carbon they can cut internally, so they look to offset their carbon emissions by funding low carbon initiatives elsewhere.
  • In the global context, the scientific consensus is that by 2050 there should be an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions. As it stands the USA has not committed to cutting anything and the rest of the G7 will be cutting 15 per cent. However, China and India are set to increase their output by 90 per cent, and the rest of the world by 30 per cent.
  • Only when there is significant investment in low carbon technology will it translate into real benefits. There are billions of dollars wrapped up in low carbon innovations, which are championed by smaller and very progressive organisations, such as Solar Century and River Simple. However, there are trillions of dollars invested at the other end of the scale with businesses such as BP and Areva, who’s strategic demeanour is much more protective than progressive, and do not have the DNA or preconditions to explore low carbon technology. There are also companies in between the two extremes who explore the low carbon innovations – but do not necessarily become actively engaged with changing the environment.
  • The right conditions need to exist for a stable climate to be possible. There are five pre-requisites – none of which are currently in place:
    • Socio-political - Consensus-based global agreement
    • Scientific - Global target of ~2t CO2e/capita
    • Ways - Price through global cap, trade & offset
    • Means - Private sector innovation & capital
    • Governance - Clear consistently applied regulation

Listen to Jonathan Shopley's seminar on Exploring the influence and impact of business on climate policy and development

About the speaker

Jonathan is Managing Director at The CarbonNeutral Company – a world leading supplier of management advice and quality carbon credit portfolios to 400 companies across 40 countries seeking to mitigate their climate impacts ahead of or beyond regulatory requirements. Prior to joining The CarbonNeutral Company, Jonathan was Managing Director in the management and technology consulting company Arthur D. Little where he advised corporates and government agencies on the mitigation of environmental impacts across sectors including apparel, aviation, cement, chemicals, clean-technology, electronics, energy, food, pharmaceuticals, and waste management. Jonathan is a Board Director of the Climate Markets & Investors Association (CMIA). His career began in the mining industry in South Africa developing environmental and social impact mitigation plans for some of the world’s largest natural resource extraction projects.

For more information on this seminar, or any others in the series, please contact Vivienne Benson. This event is part of the Business and Development seminar series, hosted by IDS' Globalisation team.