Where Do Businesses Fit In On Tackling Climate Change?
Global climate talks can seem a distant cause, whilst the questions of behaviour change tend to be framed in the language of the individual. But what makes people more likely to take action, and to feel like their impact matters, is often a collective (or communal) incentive that joins these actions together. Imagine if a fire alarm was going off in your building and everyone started running to get out – you are more than likely (and indeed it would be in your best interest) to follow them. When it comes to an issue such as climate change, the alarm is ringing (loudly) but only some people are moving. It’s not quite enough just to shout from the rooftops – to change behaviour, it is important to lead by example, and benefit by doing so.
Climate Week’s ambition is not only to unite all sectors in ‘doing their bit’ – including those who are doing so already – but also to accelerate the movement for change that will mobilise action throughout society, at all levels. And in so doing, to level out the playing field for first-movers on sustainable business practices. From technological innovation and adaptation initiatives through to networking and sustainable sourcing businesses are at the forefront of this movement and have a huge potential to lead thousands more to get involved.
Climate Week is a supercharged national campaign backed from all sectors of society including the Prime Minister, the CBI, the NHS, the Met office and over 200 organisations with a total network reach of 6 million. It culminates with thousands of events and activities taking place throughout the week of 4 to 10 March 2013.
Supported by businesses both large and small from nearly every industry – including prominent networks such as the British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI, 2degrees, RenewableUK, the Construction Industry Council, and many others beside – it offers the opportunity for organisations to run their own events, spread the word and showcase the practical actions they are taking that, together, offer a real hope for creating a more sustainable, low-carbon future.
A key element of the campaign is the prestigious Climate Week Awards, which recognises the most inspirational and impressive actions taking place in response to climate change – including some of the UK’s leading eco-designers, innovators and inspirational leaders. Entries are judged by an eminent panel including Lord Deben, the Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change, Tony Juniper, Special Advisor to the Prince of Wales Charities International Sustainability Unit, and the Bishop of London.
Winners from 2012 included Seawater Greenhouse, a project to make the desert bloom, the Ecoisland Project, a community initiative to turn the Isle of White into a self-sustaining community; and the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s ’Too Good to Waste’ campaign, encouraging people to take leftover food home in doggy bags. Nominations are now open and the deadline for entries is 25th January 2013.
This year there is a new category for the best “Climate Ready Initiative” to showcase some of the innovative projects and organisations that are helping society adapt to the effects of our changing climate. In partnership with DEFRA, Climate Week has also released a new ‘Be Climate Ready’ guide – advising businesses and future leaders in adaptation.
Organisations and businesses can get involved right now by starting to plan an event for Climate Week. Registering and then running an activity during Climate Week 2013 provides a unique opportunity to profile their own initiatives and innovations to stakeholders and staff, customers and the community, members and the media. What better way to kick-start your company’s journey to sustainability, savings and outstripping your competitors? Will you get ahead of the climate game this March?
Other Posts by Mark Whitman
Sustainable Business Forum