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null Why CSR is more important than ever after COP26

COP26 may have come to an end but many agree there remains a huge amount of work to be done to limit climate change.

From seeming steps backwards (how many world leaders travelled to the conference by private jet?) to a lack of serious commitment to change, a feeling of disappointment in the results of COP26 was recognised by the UN Secretary-General.

Almost every year since the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which bound every country on Earth to “avoid dangerous climate change”, the Conference of Parties (COP) has brought together world leaders to put this treaty into effect.

“An important step but not enough”

This year, the 26th COP climate summit was hosted by the UK in Glasgow and kicked off on the 31st October 2021. Throughout two weeks of meetings between representatives from almost 200 countries, a number of agreements and compromises were made in line with the goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees:

  • India pledged to have a carbon net-zero economy by 2070.
  • Leaders from more than 120 countries home to over 90% of the world’s forests promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, in line with the UN’s SDGs to eradicate extreme poverty and secure the planet’s future.
  • The US and the EU announced a global partnership with 100 other countries to cut methane emissions by 2030: this is seen as one of the best ways to quickly reduce global warming.
  • More than 40 countries (excluding the world's biggest users: China and the US) committed to reducing coal use.
  • 100 national governments, cities, states and major car companies made a commitment to green transport by ending the sale of internal combustion engines worldwide by 2040.
  • Commitments to corporate social responsibility (CSR) were also made in the private sector, with around 500 global financial services firms agreeing to align 40 per cent of the world’s financial assets (some $130 trillion) with the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

However, subtle language changes, like “phasing down” rather than “phasing out” fossil fuels, alongside past failures to commit to pledges, cast doubt on the agreements made at COP26. For example, developing countries (rightly) demanded that rich nations pay the $100 billion they committed to giving at COP15 that still hasn’t been received in full.

Despite the agreements made at COP26, it is obvious that there is still a long way to go to limit the impact of climate change. Greta Thunberg called the conference a failure. The UN chief stated that “It is an important step but is not enough”, adding that now is the time to go into “emergency mode”.

People don’t believe governments and corporations are committed to protecting the environment

Outside of the climate crisis conference itself, a survey carried out by Kantar Public has revealed just how much people doubt governments’ and corporations’ commitment to resolving the climate crisis.

Less than a fifth of respondents in the 10 countries surveyed agreed that their state and local governments were doing enough to limit climate change and just 13% said they believed big companies were committed to protecting the planet.

It’s no wonder then that 46% of individuals surveyed were unwilling to make serious changes to their personal habits for the good of the planet when they don’t see big players in the public and private sector doing their part.

SDG #4: “Education helps people understand and address climate change and promotes action”

With so little faith in government commitment to tackling climate change, there is an increased need for private, public and civil society organisations to be proactive in taking action. Not only is it the responsibility of all organisations to carry out their activities in a way that respects society and the planet, but also it is an opportunity to take advantage of financial benefits and to help spur government action by leading by example.

In line with Globethics.net’s commitment to upholding the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, our online course on CSR is designed to educate all stakeholders to promote action on climate change and sustainable development. The Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainable Development online course facilitates efforts made by organisations of all sizes and sectors to have a positive impact on society and the environment.

It looks at what CSR and sustainable development are, delves into why CSR matters as a management model to help organisations contribute to sustainable development, what it means today, and how it is treated by the UN and international agencies. Learners are also taught about the regulations, guidelines, and sustainability management frameworks that are currently in place for CSR and provide practical guidance for how to apply and communicate CSR and sustainability commitments from within your organisation.

The course is a vital tool in helping private and public organisations, as well as NGOs, understand and enact their role in contributing to the development of societal well-being and cohabitation. For that reason, like all of Globethics.net’s online courses, it is free and accessible so organisations of all sizes can benefit from the valuable knowledge imparted.

Empowering all organisations to take action

We all have a responsibility to work towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. But when events like COP26 make government inaction so evident, it becomes even more critical that private, public and civil society organisations embrace the need to act to save our planet.

Education is a key factor in limiting the negative impacts of climate change by increasing awareness, understanding, action, and innovation. Our online course empowers individuals and organisations with theoretical and practical knowledge (tools) of how all organisations can promote sustainable development. Sign up today for free to take part in the Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development course, starting on the 11th April 2022.