How businesses can turn COP26 outcomes into future actions

In this episode of the Sustainability Matters podcast, Steve Varley, Former EY Global Vice Chair of Sustainability, discusses the impact, outcomes and importance of actioning key COP26 takeaways.

The eyes of the world were on the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP26. With the dust settling and negotiations in place, what progress was made in adhering to the 1.5℃ goal of The Paris Agreement?

This episode of the EY Sustainability Matters podcast, features Steve Varley – Former EY Global Vice Chair for Sustainability. Steve was in Glasgow to attend COP26 and in this episode of the podcast, he discusses the experience of being at the conference in person, the likely impact of the discussions, the actions that should be taken to reduce emissions globally and the part everyone – including business – can play.

The coming together of nations was a cause for great optimism, but the reality is that there is still more work to be done to keep the 1.5oC dream alive. This means that commitment and collaboration between nations, governments and business will likely be critical, and could need further progress on trust and transparency as a priority.

Some businesses are actively and enthusiastically addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) by innovating and adapting their business model, and providing customers with a more sustainable offering. Other businesses view ESG as less of a priority, so finding a way to demonstrate the value of sustainability and moving climate change to the top of the agenda could be crucial.

For Steve, COP26 is a cause for optimism, creating an atmosphere of ambition and providing an opportunity to take meaningful action.

Key takeaways include:

  • The target of 1.5oC is still viable, but once nationally determined contributions (NDCs) have been considered, that number could change.
  • A greater corporate presence at COP26 could indicate a greater corporate influence on turning ambitions into actions.
  • A collaboration between nations, governments and business is seen as paramount to achieving the 1.5oC goal.
  • Government regulations and stakeholder demands could have significant impact on future business operating models and the ability to access capital markets.
  • Providing further education on the language of climate change could help to enhance the conversation, and inspire ideas and innovations that can make change possible.

For your convenience, full text transcript of this podcast is also available. 


Season 4, Episode 2


28m 28s