What is COP26 and why is it so important?

COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and COP26 will be the 26th annual summit of global governments. For nearly three decades, the United Nations has been bringing together representatives from almost every country for global climate summits that aim to halt the rate of climate change as a result of human activity.

This year’s meeting is particularly important because it marks over 5 years since the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep Global Warming to +1.5ºC and marks the deadline for nations to present their plans to lower emissions. There’s a cap on global emissions, with reduction targets for each year until 2030. Carbon budgets will be allocated to various nations across the globe taking into consideration that some countries are still growing their industrial capacity and energy infrastructure.

As you can imagine, it’s an incredibly complex goal that requires not only the best scientific knowledge but also patient negotiation. It has taken the last five years for countries to create the plans they are presenting in Glasgow this November, yet they are still subject to negotiation. At the end of COP26 all nations are to sign their pledges so we can globally stabilize the levels of atmospheric CO2 and halt Global Warming.

There are 3 key areas in which we need global action in order to protect life on our planet:

1. Reach global net zero by 2050
To remain aligned with the Paris Agreement we need strong action on carbon emissions and plans to drastically reduce emissions by 2030, leading to the overarching goal to reach global net zero by 2050. Among other things, we need to curtail deforestation and phase out coal as a source of energy as soon as possible.
2. Protect communities and natural habitats

Our planet is already changing as a result of global warming and other effects of human activity, with some countries being more affected than others.

Collectively we need to protect and restore ecosystems, create more resilient infrastructure and agriculture to protect communities, human and animal lives, as well as build defenses and warning systems.

3. Finance the changes needed
Many nations have been failing to deliver on actions agreed as far back as COP15 (which took place in 2009), including their commitment to provide financing for developing countries to adapt to climate change. Governments and international financial institutions need to play their part and make the necessary funds available to tackle this global challenge.

Companies can play a pivotal role not only by limiting emissions and ushering in a green post-pandemic recovery, but also by creating the innovations needed for sustainable development.

Now more than ever, companies are addressing emissions not only in their own operations but also throughout their supply chains, as this can be where most emissions take place. Tackling greenhouse gas emissions can include many things, from switching to renewable energy and more efficient use of space and resources, to shortening supply chains and making different choices when it comes to transportation of goods and people.

2020 threw many challenges at companies of all sizes and in all industries. The quick rate at which governments and companies took action to protect jobs and industries demonstrated that it is possible to adapt and implement new measures at pace. We need this same commitment when it comes to Climate Action and incentivizing eco-friendly measures.

Many companies are going above and beyond, as they see not only the urgency of the situation but also the opportunity for growth that is aligned with the future. There are plenty of problems that need solving and many ways to innovate, not only in terms of products but also systems and economic models.

How we're tackling Climate Change at House of Baukjen

At House of Baukjen we’re passionate about all areas of Environmental and Social Sustainability and are taking action in as many areas as we can. We’ve reduced our relative emissions by 25% from the 2nd quarter of 2019 to the 2nd quarter of 2021, and we’re also working hard to improve our impact, which you can read about in our Impact Report.

We’re continuously making improvements across our operations and with our partners, including working with the factories to lower their footprint and improve reporting. We’ve also been innovative in our use of materials, namely creating our own eco-friendly Ponte jersey and through our approach to circularity in fashion.

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