COP26 is the name of the United Nations Climate Change Conference for 2021.  COP stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’ and these global summits which aim to tackle the issue of climate change involve almost every country on the planet.  They have been taking place for three decades – this is the 26th annual conference, hence the name.  In 2021, the UK is the President of the conference which is due to happen in Glasgow in November for 12 days.

When annual conferences originally began, climate change was a more marginalised issue than it is today.  Fast forward another 25 years and now it is front and centre for every country around the world with a sense of urgency attached to it never seen before.

The Paris Agreement

In 2015, the COP was held in Paris and this marked a strategic landmark in the battle to tackle climate change.  Every country agreed to work together to limit global warming to below two degrees, to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate and to release money to deliver on these targets.

A commitment was also made to review this agreement every five years.  Signatory countries were to set out national plans to state how and by how much they would reduce their nation’s harmful emissions.  These are called Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs.

How will COP26 impact on your business or organisation?

Because the COP due for 2020 has been delayed by one year because of the global pandemic, COP26 marks the first five-year point following the Paris Agreement at which countries will update their plans for reducing emissions.

The UK has already been a green trailblazer in the war against harmful emissions, decarbonising the economy faster than any other country in the G20 since 2000.  The UK was also the first major economy to legislate that emissions across the four nations of the British Isles will be net zero by 2050.  The UK is the largest producer of offshore wind energy in the world and has also stated that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will end by 2030.

There are likely to be new rules and commitments that will come out of COP 26 which will impact businesses across the UK.  Fresh incentives and support could benefit your business and help you to do things in a greener way, from fleet management to the control of premises and how your employees work.  The low carbon sector and supply chain currently provides just under half a million jobs in the UK and it is the government’s stated aim to increase this to two million green jobs by 2030, could this be an opportunity?

The Green Deal will be the biggest topic of conversation for every business and commercial organisation, not just in November of this year but beyond, especially now that Covid has started to take a backseat and the post-Brexit debates and teething problems are beginning to settle down.