Sustainability Sensemaking: The Road to COP27

We’re pleased to share a new resource, “The Road to COP27,” part of a new Sustainability Sensemaking video series launching this week.

As world leaders gather for the annual U.N. Climate Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the U.N. Secretary General warns that “we have a rendezvous with climate disaster” if we fail to scale action.

Our global Sustainability Task Force is tracking the conversation and developments around this increasingly complex and nuanced moment. We spoke to experts across industries to better understand the key signals to watch for at this pivotal convening and what COP27 will mean for the path ahead as we accelerate the net-zero emissions transition and other key climate goals.

There are four key signals to watch emerging from the COP27 dialogue that will shape the 2023 climate agenda:

  • Accountability: How are governments and companies being held accountable to the commitments and goals they’ve set?
  • Implementation: How are we ensuring progress on the ground at the community level now ahead of mid-century targets?
  • Progress: How are we doing against the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement targets at this midpoint moment? Where do we need to strengthen efforts?
  • Finance: Are we mobilizing resources appropriately — especially to countries and communities on the frontlines of climate change?

As Victoria Mills, Managing Director at EDF + Business, explains, “this is a working COP, not a decision COP.” All eyes will be on how well global leaders can align on what Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Executive Vice President at the Bertelsmann Foundation, calls a “rapid acceleration on the achievement of the goals” and a “new depth of implementation” to achieve measurable progress.

It’s clear the global community is behind on the goals put forth in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and Alicia García-Herrero, Chief Economist for Asia-Pacific at Natixis, suggests that it is time to “impose short-term targets” to build momentum. David Wei, Managing Director for the Americas at BSR, encourages companies engaging at COP27 to be prepared to demonstrate incremental impact and “progress on the ground”.

Mobilizing resources to communities is a key priority according to Mindy Lubber, CEO and President at Ceres, who asserts that we need to “focus like a laser on moving capital to the places that are crucial to fixing the problem”.

Stay tuned for future installments of the Sustainability Sensemaking series in the weeks ahead.

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