Why Is Everyone Talking About COP26?
'On the surface, it sounds dry and intangible but it really is worth paying attention to, even if just to sound smart next time you’re at the pub with friends.'
The climate crisis has frequently made front-page news in the last 2 years, but you may have noticed the stories ramping up in the last week as world leaders gather in Glasgow for the ambiguously named ‘COP26’ event, running from 31st Oct - 12 Nov. On the surface, it sounds dry and intangible but it really is worth paying attention to, even if just to sound smart next time you’re at the pub with friends.
What is COP26?
We have a ‘COP’ every year. It’s a UN event that stands for ‘conference of parties’, which couldn’t sound much more general, but refers specifically to a global climate change event at which leaders from every country gather to discuss and set global targets to address our warming climate.
In 2015, at COP21 (it would have been too easy to match the COP# with the year), the Paris Agreement came about which was monumental in that it was the first legally binding, global commitment to limit warming to below 2c, or preferably below 1.5c. As part of this agreement, it was decided that all countries would gather every 5 years following - 6 if there’s a global pandemic - to resubmit more ambitious targets. More ambitious targets are very much needed because as it stands, with all global reduction plans pooled together, we are still on track for at least 2.4c warming, well over the 1.5c target we need to hit to avoid the worst impacts for our people and planet.
Why is it important?
COP26 is the first opportunity since the 2015 Paris Agreement for a sort-of ‘global stock take’ on how we are performing against our 1.5c warming target and also a crucial opportunity for everyone to up their ambitions in meeting that target. As I write, 30,000 delegates from 180 countries are in Glasgow discussing topics from insulation in our homes to how we enable a total shift to the use of electric cars by 2030 - real things that will affect our everyday lives.
There have been some big and promising commitments already, like an agreement to end deforestation globally by 2030, which starts to help us move away from a +2c warming scenario, but more is needed. All global actions decided at COP need to add up to mean that global warming is limited to 1.5c and, currently, the most optimistic estimates of where these new commitments land us is 1.9c warming. The difference between the 1.5c and 1.9c cannot be understated and we need to see more from global leaders to meet this. We also need to see proactive efforts from business leaders because policy moves slowly.
Our Net Zero 2030 commitment
At allplants we are working towards Net Zero 2030, an ambitious target but one that the science shows is necessary and which we are therefore committed to. We also recognise the importance of collective, pre-competitive action and so became a founding member of the Tech Zero taskforce this year.
As part of the taskforce, we will measure our scope 1, 2 + 3 emissions - which basically means including all supply chain emissions as well as any generated in-house - and then set out a reduction and offsetting plan to get our emissions to zero. As the one FoodTech startup in the taskforce, this is an enormous undertaking by comparison, but one we believe is necessary.
We’ll also be sharing our learnings and tools on our own journey to Net Zero which we hope will help more companies, grappling with their role in stemming the climate crisis, to follow-suit and ultimately grow our impact industry-wide.
To find out which other companies have signed up the taskforce, check out all signatories on the Tech Zero page. If there’s a brand missing on there that you want to see more from, why not email them and encourage them to sign up? There’s a toolkit they can download from the home page to help them get started!
By Ellie Harrison
Ellie heads up all-things sustainability, making sure everything we do is as conscious as possible. She couldn’t live without volleyball, killer whales and porridge… though hopefully not at the same time.