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How can business meet climate goals?

  • Date: Fri, Jul 1, 2022

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By Danielle Barron, Irish Times

Pictured: Dr Fabiola Schneider, Doctoral Researcher, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School Sustainable Finance and Sherpa to the European Commission's Platform on Sustainable Finance

Globally, the majority of people call for wide-ranging action when it comes to climate change, such as making companies pay for pollution, and believe businesses have a similar level of responsibility as governments, with 68 per cent saying that if businesses do not act now they are failing their employees and customers. Yet most firms are big on sustainability leadership claims but not on decisive action. Promises for around 2050 and transition plans heavily relying on not-yet-developed technology and offsets are not a substitute for immediate emission reductions and short-term goals.

Distinguishing between truly green change and greenwashing is a key component of our sustainable transition. Naturally, the latter is much easier for corporations than the former – evident in the current greenwashing pandemic. Greenwashing can be framed as the new climate denial: no one can credibly claim any more that climate change is not happening, or that we are not responsible. But instead of pushing for real green change, incremental steps are being taken which are subsequently promoted as sustainability leadership.

It’s dangerous because it instills a false sense of security – we are doing enough; it will be fine. It’s not. We need systemic change, and we need it now, or the consequences on life and the planet will be devastating, sooner than we can imagine. We need companies to walk the walk instead of only talking the talk.

This article was originally published in the Irish Times on Friday, July 1, 2022. Please see the full article here

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