In the face of worsening climate crisis, UN Climate Action Summit, that took place this week delivered new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear. Changing the course is still possible. Exponential innovation will definitely play a major role on this. But will be up to us changing this game.
In the last decades, it has become very clear that the impact humans are causing on the planet is far beyond the sustainable levels for it to maintain its current status. There is no doubt that the way we live today is much better than the way our ancestors lived decades or centuries ago, but shouldn’t we be more worried about the impact of our footprint on our planet? What would it be the main areas that we should focus on to have a better way of living without compromising future generations?
With that in mind, in 2015, the United Nations General Assembly created the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. A list of 17 goals that individuals, companies, countries and so on, should pay attention to. The phrase of Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations at that time, is emblematic: “We don’t have plan B because there is no planet B”. The UN also established 2030 as the year for us to achieve these goals if we, as humankind, want to overcome serious problems worldwide.
UN Climate Action Summit 2019 is happening this week and is focusing on the heart of the problem – the sectors that create the most emissions and the areas where building resilience could make the biggest difference – as well as provide leaders and partners the opportunity to demonstrate real climate action and showcase their ambition.
In the face of worsening climate crisis, UN Summit delivers new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear.
Scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to increase resilient economies. The pace of change is quickening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures. Climate action – read more about this sustainable goal here - is an issue that requires solutions that need to be coordinated at the international level to help developing countries move toward a low-carbon economy.
To strengthen this global response, countries adopted the Paris Agreement providing an open-door framework for countries to continuously intensify up their positive actions and are expected to commit by 2020 to more aggressive climate plans, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs). This Summit demonstrates how governments, businesses, and civilians around the world are rising to the challenge:
• India pledged to increase renewable energy capacity to 175GW by 2022 and committed to further increasing to 450GW;
• China renewed its commitment in the Paris Agreement, of cutting emissions by over 12 billion tones, annualy;
• Germany promoted a new plan worth $60 billion over 10 years to speed a transition to clean power;
• The European Union announced that at least 25% of the next EU budget will be devoted to climate-related activities.
Also, an important highlight was The Economy Moving from Grey to Green: A coalition of public and private entities working on the heavy industry transition towards net zero emissions by mid-century, set out pathways for carbon intensive sectors to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The coalition will develop and deliver a roadmap with tangible steps to accelerate the deployment of zero emissions vehicles.
With all these climate resolutions in mind, the UN will remain engaged in the follow-up of the commitments made and will work to further scale up and monitor the initiatives to achieve the promised goals and objectives.
Better health also couldn’t stay out of the scope, as in the 21st century, half of the world's population is still without access to essential health services. There were 10 million cases of tuberculosis in 2017; 5.4 million children under 5 years of age that died in 2017; and one of the biggest concerns now is ageing, where it was estimated that by 2050 one in six people in the world will be over age 65.
The “Clean Air Initiative” was presented in the UN Climate Change Summit ensuring that the transition to a green economy benefits all people. Governments at the national, regional, state and city level committed to achieve the WHO Ambient Air Quality Guideline values, aligning their climate change and air pollution policies by 2030.
The call to improve air quality is part of a wider movement to bring awareness to social and political drivers to improve people’s health, reduce inequities, promote social justice and maximize opportunities of decent work for all, while protecting the climate for future generations.
A lack of progress in reducing emissions threatens both human lives and the viability of national health systems. This widespread understanding of climate change as a central public health issue is crucial to delivering an accelerated response.
Business and management schools play a key role in shaping the mindsets and skills of future leaders and can be powerful drivers of corporate sustainability. At Porto Business School sustainability is one of the school's strategic guidelines. The school is developing an extensive work on analysing the impact and the contribution of our programmes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Since 2013, Porto Business School is signatory of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), being supported by the United Nations, as a platform to raise the profile of sustainability in schools around the world, and to equip today's business students with the understanding and ability to deliver change tomorrow.
Porto Business School has been increasingly embedding CSR, ethics and sustainability in all courses. Currently, ethics, sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is already embedded as a key component of the MBA provision. As for Executive Education, Porto Business School has already designed, and offered, since 2017, an executive programme in Sustainable Management, in partnership with the BCSD (Business Council for Sustainable Portugal), having impacted already more than 50 organizations with this programme.
Lead by example is taken very seriously at Porto Business School - the School’s building was granted with LEED - Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design – Gold certification, being the first and only Portuguese business school, and the second in the Iberian Peninsula, to achieve this level of certification, joining a limited number of international schools such as Harvard, MIT, Columbia and Stanford. The School has a strong commitment to control and moderate energy, plastic and paper consumption relative to its growing activity volume and is actively involved in several local social initiatives.
Furthermore, Porto Business School is founding partner of the BIOPOLIS project, that aims to upgrade excellence in environmental biology, ecosystem research and agrobiodiversity and also a member of The Porto Protocol sustainable initiative which motivates companies and individuals to do more in what regards Climate Changes and its impact in economy and society.
Adding to this, Porto Business School is very proud to announce the collaboration on Eurekathon – Challenging Data for Good Health and Well Being - a partnership with LTPlabs and NOS, that addresses societal issues associated with sustainable development goals. In its 1st edition, participants are challenged to develop concrete and creative solutions that contribute to healthy lives and well-being for all.