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BACA Key Messages

07/10/2020
Team BACA

How to pitch the Belgian Alliance for Climate Action to your internal and external stakeholders

In this article, we share key messages that explain why organisations should take action based on the latest climate science. This is to provide you with correct answers to questions you might get from your employees, partners, suppliers, clients, the press, investors… when you're discussing the Alliance.

The rationale for taking science-based climate action and joining BACA is based on three fundamental messages:

  1. Organisations need to take more ambitious climate action, starting now
  2. We will only be able to make the transition to a net-zero economy if we work together
  3. Climate action based on science is the most effective way to guarantee the required effect

Below, we set out our arguments to back up these main messages. If you need more information or want to review our sources, please reach out to baca@theshift.be.

Message 1: Organisations need to take more ambitious climate action, starting now

The Paris Climate Agreement was signed by governments. But as things stand, the nationally determined contributions from all signatory countries are insufficient, and will lead to a temperature increase of more than 3°C compared to pre-industrial levels. This gap highlights how important it is for private sector organisations to take their own responsibility as key players in the fight against climate change. Greater action is needed.

  • We have reached the end of the warmest decade ever recorded. The planet is currently 1.1°C warmer than during the pre-industrial era. Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere were 18% higher in the 2015-2019 period compared to the previous five years.
  • The world is far from on track to meeting its commitments under the Paris Agreement to keep global average temperatures well below 2°C, let alone the much safer 1.5°C.
  • The urgency is only increasing. The world is already feeling the impacts of climate change, and the cost of mitigation and adaptation measures continues to rise with every year of inaction.
  • Organisations are increasingly held accountable for their sustainability agenda: consumers want organisations to take action and prefer those that care about environmental issues.
  • Consumers are demanding greater visibility into the full greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of individual products, to take this into account in their decision-making.
  • A growing chorus of climate-conscious investors are factoring in ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) analytics as part of their investment decisions.

Message 2: We will only be able to make the transition to a net-zero economy if we work together

Organisations of all sizes should share their best practices, so none of us have to reinvent the wheel. By pooling knowledge, companies, non-profit/non-governmental organisations and academic/research institutions can save time and resources, inspire each other and ensure a real sense of cooperation in this crucial domain. By coming together, we start a movement that enables organisations of all sizes to contribute to reducing emissions worldwide.

  • Many multinationals' total GHG footprint is largely made up of emissions that originate within their value chain, whether from suppliers of raw materials or semi-finished products or from their own customers. According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), companies’ average supply-chain emissions are 5.5 times higher than emissions from their own operations.
  • Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are key players to instigate a systemic change from a linear to a more circular economic model, which will be one of the major contributions to reducing emissions. Only when all players in a value chain cooperate, will be able to close material loops.
  • In Belgium, SMEs play a critical role in the economy, generating more than 60% of total value added. Together with efforts from large corporations, the combined climate action of many SMEs already makes a significant contribution to climate action. Getting more SMEs on board is vitally important to spreading sustainable business practices.
  • Addressing supply-chain emissions can create numerous co-benefits beyond collectively reducing emissions, such as strengthening supply-chain resilience. But examining operations through a carbon impact lens can also help identify new operational efficiencies, cost-saving opportunities, and suggestions for innovation. Finally, aligning operational thinking with supply-chain partners in line with a societal cause such as climate action also creates more robust and long-lasting relationships.

Message 3: Climate action based on science is the most effective way to guarantee the required effect

  • GHG emission reduction targets must be in line with the commitments of the Paris Agreement. Climate science tells us that global temperature increase must stay well below 2°C, preferably even 1.5°C if we want to prevent irreversible damage.
    Only through accurate carbon accounting and climate action that is based on science can we measure progress towards our individual and collective emissions reduction targets, and unlock support from internal and external stakeholders.
  • The global carbon budget (the GHG emissions that humanity has emitted since the start of the industrial revolution) is the scientifically agreed-upon instrument that enables the world to engage in effective climate action. Scientists base themselves on this budget to estimate the budget we have left to keep the average global temperature increase below 1.5° / 2°C.
  • Looking at climate science allows us to measure the gap between what is needed and what we are currently doing, to mobilise efforts that will collectively limit global warming with the least negative impact.
  • By basing a GHG emissions reduction target on the global carbon budget, an organisation can contribute consistently to the decarbonisation trajectory that is necessary for its sector, and plan transparent and meaningful reduction pathways.
  • Following widely used global GHG accounting standards (such as the GHG Protocol) allows an organisation to make progress that is both verifiable and comparable. This is important to ensure buy-in from the organisation’s stakeholders, partners and investors for its sustainability actions.