Six Months On – Sustaining Sustainability Beyond COP26

Glasgow - Sustainability Beyond COP26
Glasgow – The Host City For COP26

COP26 already seems a long time ago!

We’re living through turbulent times. With so much going on in the world over the last few months – there’s a real danger that sustainability takes a back seat.

Six months on from the flagship climate conference, we explore what was achieved at COP26, how the geopolitical landscape is threatening progress towards the goals, and what organisations can do to sustain their own business sustainability beyond COP26.

What Was Achieved at COP26?

The two key outcomes from COP26 were the signing of the Glasgow Climate Pact and the agreement of The Paris Rulebook.

The Glasgow Climate Pact builds on the Paris Accord. It isn’t a new treaty, it simply sets out a series of decisions and resolutions that set out what needs to be done to tackle climate change, and keep our chances of limiting warming to 1.5C alive. These are not legally binding and it doesn’t set out what each country must do to achieve this.

Perhaps more important was the finalisation of The Paris Rulebook. This is an agreement between the Paris signatories on how they will set out their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to cut emissions. It covers enhanced transparency and the framework for reporting emissions, timeframes for reducing emissions, and standards for international carbon markets.

COP26 also saw countries commit to a series of agreements covering forests, methane, vehicle emissions and finance. In addition, countries set out objectives to phase out coal power and decarbonise shipping routes.

You’ll find a more comprehensive list of agreements signed at  

Short Term Challenges Limiting Progress

Unfortunately, there have been a series of series short term challenges that have the potential to hamper progress on sustainability beyond COP26. These could prevent the world from achieving the COP26 commitments.

For instance, high inflation, a global cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine, the supply chain crisis and the ongoing impact of Covid are all having an impact. As a result, we’ve already seen some backtracking on sustainability pledges, as governments, organisations and businesses in every sector address these short term concerns.

We’re seeing discussions about fossil fuel development and shifts in energy policy that could hamstring the sustainable energy movement. In terms of commodities, businesses are compromising their own promises on sustainable sourcing to shore  up supply chains and ensure continued viability.

Given the seriousness of the situation, it’s somewhat understandable – but bitterly disappointing to see any compromise on sustainability. The short term measures taken now could have serious long term impacts to the future of the planet. They will also inevitably reduce the likelihood of us hitting our ambitious goals.

Sustainability Beyond COP26 – Opportunities for New Thinking

Despite the many challenges and setbacks – there are opportunities in crisis. For many, the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine has underlined an urgent need to transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable solutions as quickly as possible.

When we emerge from the short term panic, it seems increasingly possible that this will accelerate development and growth in renewable and low carbon energy sources across Europe and the UK.

This could be a real wake up call for governments, businesses and society at large. However, whether we decide to make this a positive turning point is yet to be seen.

A Sustainable Way Forward – Keeping on Track for COP27

As we work our way towards COP27 in Egypt, it’s essential that we all try to keep on track with our sustainability journeys, despite the many challenges. There will always be crises and excuses – but, according to the latest climate data, time is not on our side.

How do we do this as businesses? It’s a challenging question. Perhaps the most important thing is remembering the bigger picture. We’re all working towards securing a liveable, sustainable planet for the next generation!

Ultimately, it means continuing on our journeys towards sustainability. It means we need to keep making progress on the goals we set out, wherever we can. It means continuing to make sustainability a priority despite the challenges. Finally, it means implementing sustainability into the culture and processes of our entire operations – at every point of the supply chain.

Sometimes, it’s going to mean making tough choices – but ultimately, working sustainably is the best way forward for people and planet.

Setting Benchmarks and Measuring Progress with ESG Reporting Software

One of the most effective ways of sustaining momentum on business sustainability beyond COP26 is by tracking progress. It’s a process and over time, making a series of small changes can add up to a huge difference.

You can’t track progress without measuring!

Measuring and tracking ESG metrics can be complex. Getting an accurate picture of business operations means looking at a number of different aspects of the organisation. This includes different people, operational procedures, supply chains and resources.

For carbon reporting, it also means tracking emissions across all three scopes, which can be a time consuming and complicated process.

Attempting this process manually is a huge undertaking. For all but the smallest businesses, it’s simply not feasible without the right software. Specialist ESG tracking software makes the whole process much easier. It automates data collection and allows for easy measurement, analysis and reporting on performance.

AXIOM ESG Reporting Software – Empowering Sustainable Change

Monitor, analyse and improve sustainability performance with AXIOM – a powerful cloud-based ESG reporting platform.

Using specialist technology, we equip businesses with a tool which enables them to track their environmental and social performance. In addition, Axiom can help to improve governance – identifying and mitigating risks associated with business operations and relationships.

From tracking SECR and carbon emissions through to community engagement and beyond – AXIOM can help. To find out more – book your free AXIOM demo today.

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