Zeke Hausfather, a research scientist at Berkeley Earth, wrote a highly interesting opinion piece in The New York Times yesterday. In it, he stated that he can demonstrate from climate data that the Earth’s warming has accelerated over the past 15 years, rather than proceeding gradually and steadily.
Why is this analysis important?
Firstly, because it aligns with the climate models of the IPCC. Science has predicted that this would happen, which is reassuring.
What’s less reassuring is that we are not speeding up our response. It’s determined by what is politically feasible. Russia made it clear last week where we stand. It will block any attempt to reach agreements on phasing out oil and gas production at the next COP. Since decisions at the COP must be made by consensus, it’s already clear that the COP won’t bring about acceleration.
Should we then passively observe how climate change continues to strike harder and harder?
Should the business world just let this all happen? Should we resign ourselves to political incompetence in speeding up and exacerbating the negative climate impact on our economy? Of course not. Because the business world has a wildcard, and that is Scope 3. The emissions caused by consumers using products are part of every company’s Scope 3.
Why is this important now?
Because the strategy of the Paris Agreement is based on cutting supply: if no more oil or gas is extracted from the ground, it can’t be burned, and no additional CO2 will enter the atmosphere. The Achilles’ heel of this strategy is, of course, that petrostates and the oil and gas industry voluntarily pull the plug on their own production. We now know that this is not the case.
If you can’t cut the supply, you can influence the demand. In other words, reduce the demand for carbon-intensive products in favor of low-carbon products. And that results in a significant reduction. According toFelix Creutzig and the IPCC, we can expect a reduction of 40 to 70% between today and 2050. Reducing the Scope 3 emissions of the business world fits perfectly into this demand change strategy.
How do you approach this as a marketer?
The answer lies in your company’s CSRD analysis. Marketers are not really involved in this today. However, they should be. Because a CSRD analysis shows where a company has the most negative impact on the climate and, conversely, where the opportunities lie. And with these opportunities, every marketer can make a difference. And that will inevitably influence the behavior of consumers in a climate-positive way.
Climate warming is not linear but accelerated. Our political response to it is not. As Russia will block the phasing out decision at the COP28, there is no political improvement in sight.
The alternative is the change demand strategy. That is the marketer’s wildcard. But for marketers to implement this strategy effectively, they must understand where opportunities lie, and these insights can be found in the CSRD analysis. Marketers must be part of the conversation when it comes to CSRD.