It has been a week of activism and a call for action, with the Extinction Rebellion, causing major disruptions in London.
But alongside grass roots demonstrations, there appears to be a greater awareness in the corporate world, that every business has a role to play in tackling the catastrophic environmental risk the world now faces.
On Monday, Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), the UK’s largest institutional investment firm, announced that as part of its Climate Impact Pledge, it would not hold eight large global companies in the Future World funds. LGIM stated: “Where such companies are seen to take insufficient actions on climate risks, LGIM will also vote against the chairs of their boards, across the entire equity holdings.”
On Thursday, Bank of England governor, Mark Carney published an open letter describing the findings of a new report in which global banking, central banks, supervisors and the financial community have signed up to a set of deliverable goals to help to ensure a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy.
From a banking perspective, the focus is to build knowledge and share data such that the monitoring of climate-related financial risks are integrated in day-to-day supervisory work.
The promise of a “tech solution”
As Computer Weekly recently reported, PwC and Microsoft believe technology has an important role to play in helping businesses and governments to support climate change and environmental issues. PwC’s new How AI can enable a Sustainable Future report, looks at the use of AI-enabled smart technology across agriculture, water, energy and transport.
Examples include AI-infused clean distributed energy grids, precision agriculture, sustainable supply chains, environmental monitoring and enforcement, and enhanced weather and disaster prediction and response.
In the sectors it focused on, PwC estimated that AI applications could reduce global greenhouse gases by 4% – more than the current annual emissions of Australia, Canada and Japan combined.
The experts are in agreement that climate change will not only ruin the planet, kill off the polar bears along with millions of other species and result in unimaginable human suffering across the globe, it will also have a major impact on global business. It may not have the immediate impact of the Extinction Rebellion, but the words from Mark Carney, the LGIM statement and PwC’s findings may actually resonate more with business leaders. And if PwC’s forecasts are accurate, AI has the potential to enable every country to meet the target to become carbon neutral by 2050, as set out by the Paris Agreement.