Written by Vincent Diringer, Content Editor, Sustainability
As part of the global political response to climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) holds a yearly Conference of the Parties (COP) in one of its signatory nations. This has happened every year since 1994, except for 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic delayed the summit by a year. The yearly COPs serve as an opportunity for negotiators to debate the next set of climate goals, and for decision-makers to take stock of the progress they’ve achieved so far [1, 2]. Following two weeks of negotiations on key topics, the summit concludes with an agreement on climate action like the Paris Agreement (COP21), or simply with a statement outlining the developments from the COP, like this year’s Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan.
Outside of the negotiations taking place at the summit, pavilions within the COP campus accommodate delegations from global governments, civil society, and special interest groups. This setting provides opportunities for networking and knowledge-sharing between a wide range of stakeholders, and can be the precursor for the development of private and public sector partnerships towards sustainability, economic development, and climate action. COP remains a relatively closed event, with accreditation for the summit limited and reserved for diplomats and UNFCCC-recognized organizations .
The UNFCCC COP dictates the speed and scope of global climate action. Therefore, this yearly summit has the ability to set new frameworks, goals, and developments capable of affecting governments, companies, and individuals. For example, the Paris Agreement has served as the key reference for climate action since its creation in 2015, and has gone on to influence the transition to net zero. Other mechanisms can be developed that can impact individuals at a policy level, such as climate finance for Loss & Damage (L&D) which provides technical and economic support to climate-vulnerable countries affected by climate change impacts.
While policy negotiations and civil society meetings are the main activities at COP, global politics and corporate agendas influence the outcome to the point that the summit has been called ineffective and a vector for greenwashing. Combined with slow action on climate and limited advocacy for evidence-based solutions established on scientific research, COPs are increasingly seen as having a limited effect on climate due to the toothless nature of international politics [3-5].
As outlined by University College of London Professor Bobby Bannerjee , “After 27 years of negotiations, conflicts and breakdowns, the world’s nations have basically agreed: (1) climate change is a serious problem; (2) something must be done to fix it; (3) rich nations should do more; and (4) based on the Paris agreement of 2015, every country should set their own emissions goals and do their best to meet them. The UN claims that the Paris agreement is “legally binding”, but there are no enforcement mechanisms or penalties for countries in breach. Even current pledges will not be enough to meet the target to restrict global warming to the 1.5℃ target agreed in Paris.”
Outcomes of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh
Professor Bannerjee’s comments are an accurate summary of the outcomes of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh [3-5]. As a delegate attached to the Climate Youth Negotiators Programme (CYNP) and youth advocacy non-for-profit ClimaTalk, I was in Egypt shining a light on young people and their roles in policy-making. While this COP was the first to have youth, indigenous people, and climate justice pavilions – all of which were amongst the most popular ones over the course of the two weeks – there was a permeating feeling that these must progress from tokenistic participation to actual impact within negotiations. Over the course of my time there I heard multiple observers and negotiators highlight how despite an increased amount of youth being represented at the summit, there continued to be pushback against including young people in decision and policy-making.
While there may have been blockages at the negotiating table, young people were amply represented amid civil society and government delegations. Several young entrepreneurs expressed that they saw COP as a way of building bridges with like-minded individuals and changing the world via their projects, rather than via slow diplomatic processes that are easily hampered. Actions speak louder than words was the adage that seeped through conversations, and young people were clearly ready to take things in hand.
Although diplomats were able to find an agreement on L&D (Loss and Damage) after several decades of negotiations, the final text was seen as a step back in terms of actions especially considering the advice provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and growing support to condemn and drastically reduce the usage of fossil fuels. COP27 hosted one of the largest contingents of fossil fuel delegations the summit has seen, and featured a pavilion from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), this in tandem with Coca Cola announcement as a sponsor has added fuel to the debate of large-scale greenwashing and climate inaction at major international events [6-8].
One thing has been made clear: businesses and individuals have an opportunity to stir change from the bottom-up. Capable of making their own decisions and working collaboratively with other like-minded organizations and persons willing to make a difference, companies have an opportunity to be the leaders in climate action – have you considered how you could enact change in your community?
 UNFCCC, 2022, “Conference of the Parties (COP)”, United Nations.
 Malek Romdhane & Vincent Diringer, 2021, “What is COP?”, ClimaTalk.
 Gloria Dickie and Simon Jessop, 2022, “COP27 – Corporate climate pledges rife with greenwashing – U.N. expert group”, Reuters.
 Bob Bannerjee, 2022, “Why COP27 should be the last of these pointless corporate love-ins”, The Conversation.
 Aruna Chandrasekhar, Daisy Dunne, Josh Gabbatiss, Joe Goodman, Simon Evans and Zizhu Zhang, 2022, “COP27: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Sharm El-Sheikh”, Carbon Brief
 Ruth Michaelson, 2022, “‘Explosion’ in number of fossil fuel lobbyists at Cop27 climate summit”, The Guardian.
 Esme Stallard, 2022, “COP27: Activists ‘baffled’ that Coca-Cola will be sponsor”, BBC.
 OPEC Fund, 2022 “COP27 Overview” OPEC.
Excerpt of Forbes – By Mike Kappel
Are you throwing money down the drain with marketing strategies that just aren’t cutting it? Unsure? That’s where marketing KPIs, or key performance indicators, come into play. Businesses use KPIs to gauge whether their marketing efforts are effective or not.
There’s no shame in having failed marketing efforts. When you measure them, you can easily test and fix things. But if you don’t bother to measure them, you could be wasting time and money on things that don’t work.
Let’s fix that, shall we?
In marketing, key performance indicators are metrics businesses use to measure the successes and shortcomings of their marketing efforts. KPIs measure things like the revenue, costs, and web traffic associated with marketing.
So, do marketing KPIs matter? Before all you marketers cringe at this question, let me just quickly say that yes, yes they do. But depending on your small business and the industry you’re in, you might not know much about these KPIs. So, it’s OK to ask if you should take the time to invest in measuring them.
Tracking key marketing KPIs can help you:
Not all of your marketing efforts directly translate into money. In fact, a lot won’t. Marketing is also about building brand awareness and letting potential customers get familiar with your business. As a result, some marketing KPIs focus on money while others don’t. Regardless, they’re all pretty important for marketing (and business) success.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
How much money are you soaking into marketing versus how much is it generating for your business? Use the return on investment (ROI) metric to find out. ROI is a percentage that shows you whether your business is gaining or losing money. […]
So to figure out your marketing cost, you need to add up all of your marketing expenses, including:
If your ROI is too low, you can cut back some expenses or find new ways to boost revenue. If it’s high, keep going—you’re doing great.
[…] You can compare your customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value.
Customer acquisition cost shows you how much you are spending to get the customer to spend at your business.
Customer lifetime value shows you how much the customer spends over the course of a lifetime at your business. If they’re a loyal customer, probably a bit.
You can then compare the customer’s lifetime value to how much it costs to acquire the customer. If you’re spending more to acquire a customer than what they’ll spend at your business, it might be time to reevaluate your marketing strategy.
Do you have a business website? Of course you do (and if you don’t, now’s the time to create one!). And chances are, your website is a marketing tool in and of itself.
Why not observe how successful it is?
You can use tools, like Google Analytics, to determine how many people are coming to your website. And, you can see which website pages generate the most activity. Take advantage of your top pages by adding things like ads, and beef up your low-performing pages with things like keywords and visuals.
Now of course, you can get as nitty-gritty as you want to when it comes to web traffic. Break it down by organic (unpaid) traffic and paid traffic. You can see how many people are returning visitors and how many are unique visitors. The possibilities are (seemingly) endless.
Here are a few other things you can track when it comes to your website:
According to one study, 90% of U.S. businesses use social media to market. If you fall into this majority, the question is … what KPIs should you use to measure your efforts?
Well, there’s a bit. You can use metrics such as:
Keep in mind that, even though you may use social media for marketing purposes, it shouldn’t be exclusively about marketing. If some of your KPIs are poor, it might be because you’re not giving your followers enough useful and informative content. Play around with a posting schedule to improve your metrics.
Are current or potential customers opening emails? Clicking through them? Doing the action you want them to?
If you don’t know, you’re going to spend a lot of time throwing emails into the void. That’s why email engagement metrics are oh-so important.
You can measure the percentage of recipients who open emails, click through them, and convert to paying customers.
By measuring these types of metrics, you can change up your emails so they’re more effective. Do some A/B tests, where you send one email to one group and a variation of the email to another group. See what’s more successful. I’ve been surprised by more than one A/B test winner in the past.
Read the full article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel/2020/08/19/dont-snooze–lose-track-these-5-marketing-kpis-instead/?sh=567222c36f24
Excerpt of Forbes – By Izabela Lundberg
Did you ever think about why and how some teams or organizations are more successful than others?
Despite many talent similarities ranging from education, training, background and years of experience, to name a few, organizations get very different results in performance.
Is it leadership, talent, organizational structure or something else that is the determining factor in high performance? The short answer is culture.
Culture is the bones of an organization, the fundamental elements, like traditions, rituals, language, story and communication style, combine to make us, “us.” Culture is the driver behind everything you do as an organization. It is a catalyst for how decisions are made and how business gets done.
And this can be negative or positive. Culture doesn’t care which one it becomes. Every organization has a culture, healthy, toxic or anywhere in between. The culture you get depends on the quality of leadership.
How you show up as a leader sets the tone for everyone else to follow. But if your organization is going to have a culture in any case, I recommend you do your utmost to develop a champion culture. The best way to do that is through an emotional commitment to excellence of all team members every single day.
Why is this critical? Because research shows that the number one reason for the Great Resignation is a toxic culture due to poor leadership. […]
Champion culture boldly seeks to understand and address fear in the workplace, the most powerful driver of a toxic culture. Understanding and addressing fear can unlock massive potential at every level of your organization, thus creating a champion culture throughout.
Here are the different kinds of champions you can encourage in your business:
• Individual champion: A brilliant all-star business player who brings trustworthiness, discipline, competency and a high performance and impact mindset demonstrated through emotional intelligence and capacity. These are the most needed and some of the most desired traits. […]
• Team champion: A brilliant, all-star, high-performing team made up of individual champions operating effectively and collaboratively. Creating an environment of shared purpose, trust, openness and willingness to admit and correct mistakes are critical in a champion culture.
• Organizational champion: The organization operates in a high-performing culture with the flagship of transformational leadership aligned with organizational vision, mission and goals. Integrating strategy, systems and structures is essential in developing a champion culture.
• World champion: High-impact culture, leading through exceptional legacy leadership, demonstrated accountability, integrity and transparency. This is not only reflected in their talent, customers or leadership, but also through the adoption of ESG global standards of operation organization-wide, driving the successful growth of the organization through continued business value.
Read the full article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2022/05/09/why-champion-culture-is-needed-more-than-ever/?sh=2c1017ec5c85
Excerpt from Fast Company – By Dan Osusky
As the world’s governments continue to balk at taking the necessary aggressive action, more and more companies are announcing what appear to be bold climate commitments, stepping up to take action where countries are not.
But while more than 3,000 businesses have made commitments within initiatives of the UNFCCC’s Race to Zero campaign, that’s a drop in the bucket. Only 42.8% of Russell 1000 companies have disclosed a commitment to reducing emissions, with only about 26% having more rigorous commitments including Net Zero by 2050 or an approved science based target. You might conclude that we need more climate commitments.
How to bridge the gap between these perspectives? More action is necessary, and commitments are one way to do that, but rather than focus on the commitments themselves, let’s focus on accountability to the commitments.
Accountability can ensure that the commitments being made are meaningful: ambitious and aligned with the science on timelines, including in their scope the things that matter (like all emissions from a product’s supply chain and use, and the greenhouse gases beyond carbon), and the methods to achieve them (i.e. direct reductions, removals, offsets, and so on). It also ensures that the commitments are actually upheld—not only by the “end date” of the commitment, but in regular increments that demonstrate that the end goal is actually feasible and on track.
Where commitments are valuable are as a means to enable accountability. Once a commitment is made, that commitment can be scrutinized and evaluated. It’s not all negative: the right commitments can be applauded and praised for positive reinforcement. When necessary, they can be criticized and condemned. But once a commitment is made, transparency needs to follow. Lack of transparency can itself be criticized, and when we have transparency, it’s possible to ensure that companies are living up to their commitments on a regular basis and following through with the proportionate level of action and achievement of results towards their end goal.
Read the full article: https://www.fastcompany.com/90696664/corporate-climate-commitments-dont-mean-anything-without-accountability
The scale of the climate crisis can seem overwhelming as entire nations seek to decarbonise their economies, enact sustainable development goals, while environmental degradation is being recorded globally. For everyday consumers, the sheer size of the issue can make it too daunting to tackle as an individual – yet they can absolutely have an impact. Sustainability starts at home, and businesses have an important role in helping their communities adapt .
From providing services that encourage sustainable habits – such as the 7 Rs (Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Repurpose, Reuse, Repair, Recycle) – or finding opportunities to unite stakeholders to promote a message, businesses of any size can be a part of the movement . Globally, consumers are already interested in becoming more sustainable, but have indicated a lack of opportunity or knowledge as the reason they have yet to change their behaviour . Here exists a chance for sustainable-minded businesses to become a part of the global transition to a low-carbon future. Purpose-filled companies following a progressive agenda that adapts to market trends will ensure that they are ahead of their competition and become a part of the transition [4, 5].
Consumers are more aware than ever of the impact their choices and that of the companies they support have on the environment [3, 5]. As global governments shift towards a low-carbon economic framework there has also been a shift to take into account consumer needs and wants when it comes to sustainability . As Bart de Smet points out for the World Economic Forum, consumer power can scale change, and businesses have the opportunity to bring on that change by providing and promoting sustainable alternatives while leveraging consumers’ insights and knowledge for action .
The future is low-carbon and will be built on the foundations set by companies that were willing to encourage sustainability in everyday life and provide opportunities for their communities. Climate change is happening. The transition towards a circular society is underway – so why delay adapting to a sustainable business model ?
 Kate Bassett, 2021, “Sustainability begins at home: how to live a lower-carbon lifestyle”, Financial Times.
 James Ellsmoor, 2019, “Environmental Education Will Shape A New Generation Of Decision-Makers”, Forbes.
 Southern Cross University, 2019, “Going Green”, Southern Cross University.
 Bart de Smet, 2022, “Closing the ‘say-do gap’: How businesses can help consumers build sustainable habits”, World Economic Forum.
 Deloitte, 2021 “The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey”, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.
 J.N. Sheth, N.K Sethia, & S. Srinivas, 2011, “Mindful consumption: a customer-centric approach to sustainability”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 39, pp. 21-39
 Vincent Diringer, 2022, “The Importance of Sustainable Business Models”, LEAD-WiSE.