Facing the climate challenge together

May. 4 2023 - Poonperm Vardhanabindu, PhD

As the impact of climate changes gets more severe, corporations with a commitment to sustainability need to adapt to a new reality and accelerate their plan to adopt technically robust approaches that will reduce their impact on the environment.

To help navigate the challenges of climate action and ensure long-term success, organisations should focus on advanced tools and methods, such as the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), Green Financing instruments, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and life cycle assessments (LCAs).

Transitioning to Low Carbon Technologies:

Low-carbon technologies such as renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and smart grid infrastructure are crucial for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change. By transitioning to these technologies, businesses can significantly reduce their carbon footprint while also benefiting from cost savings, improved energy security, and enhanced reputation. For instance, renewable energy sources like solar and wind power can provide a reliable, cost-effective, and low-carbon alternative to traditional fossil fuels, reducing dependence on finite and polluting energy sources. Energy storage systems can help integrate intermittent renewable energy sources into the grid while ensuring reliable power supply. Smart grid infrastructure can optimize energy distribution, reduce energy waste, and enable two-way communication between energy providers and consumers.

The Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach (SDA) is an important methodology for setting science-based emission reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement's goals. It involves identifying the most significant sources of emissions in a particular sector and developing a decarbonisation pathway to achieve emissions reduction targets. The concept of carbon budgets helps allocate the reduction targets of emissions equitably, ensuring that different companies in a sector share the burden of reducing emissions. Green financing instruments like green bonds and loans can support sustainable projects by providing access to low-cost capital and helping to raise awareness among investors about the importance of environmental sustainability.

Climate Resilience and Adaptation:

Building resilience and adaptation capacity is essential for businesses to prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change. The TCFD framework provides a standardized framework for companies to disclose climate-related risks and opportunities in their financial filings, allowing investors to make more informed decisions. By using this framework, companies can identify potential vulnerabilities and financial implications of climate change and develop strategies to mitigate these risks. For example, extreme weather events, water scarcity, or supply chain disruptions can all have a significant impact on business operations and profitability. Developing climate adaptation strategies, incorporating both infrastructural improvements and data-driven decision-making, can help companies identify risks and opportunities, reduce vulnerability, and improve their resilience to climate change impacts.

Life Cycle Assessments and Carbon Footprint:

Life cycle assessments (LCAs) are a valuable tool for companies to identify environmental impacts throughout a product's life cycle, including raw material extraction, manufacturing, transportation, use, and end-of-life disposal. LCAs enable companies to understand the carbon footprint of their products and identify opportunities for emissions reduction, waste reduction, and resource efficiency. By incorporating the results of LCAs into decision-making processes, companies can prioritize sustainability and minimize the environmental impact of their operations. For example, companies can use LCA results to optimize the design of products, choose more sustainable raw materials, reduce energy consumption during manufacturing, and improve end-of-life disposal.

Companies should also consider the environmental impact of their entire value chain, including their suppliers and stakeholders. By engaging with suppliers and stakeholders, companies can identify opportunities to reduce emissions, waste, and resource use throughout the value chain, and develop collaborative solutions to address sustainability challenges.

The Role of Innovation:

Innovation is crucial for developing new solutions to the challenges of climate change. Breakthrough technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, bioenergy, and advanced materials, can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. For example, carbon capture and storage technology can capture carbon dioxide emissions from industrial processes and store them underground, reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. Bioenergy can provide a renewable source of energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Advanced materials can help improve the energy efficiency of buildings and transportation.

Companies should also explore innovative business models, such as circular economy principles or nature-based solutions, to enhance their sustainability performance and competitive advantage. Circular economy principles involve designing products and services to minimize waste and promote the reuse and recycling of materials, reducing the environmental impact of production and consumption. Nature-based solutions involve using natural systems and processes, such as reforestation, wetland restoration, and coastal protection, to address sustainability challenges.

In Southeast Asia and Thailand, there are several examples of innovative climate solutions being implemented by businesses and governments. For instance, Thailand's Energy Ministry has set a target to increase the share of renewable energy in the country's energy mix to 30% by 2036, promoting the development of solar, wind, and biomass energy. In the Philippines, the Ayala Corporation has invested in renewable energy projects, such as solar power and micro-hydro systems, to reduce its carbon footprint and increase energy efficiency. Singapore-based company CarbonCure Technologies has developed a technology that injects recycled carbon dioxide into concrete, reducing the carbon footprint of the building material.

In conclusion, transitioning to low-carbon technologies, building climate resilience, conducting life cycle assessments, and embracing innovation are all crucial for businesses to address the challenges of climate change and drive sustainable growth. By leveraging advanced tools and methodologies, such as the SBTi, TCFD, and LCAs, businesses can identify opportunities for emissions reduction, resource efficiency, and collaboration with suppliers and stakeholders. Innovation and cross-sector collaboration are also essential for developing new solutions to the challenges of climate change and ensuring a sustainable future for all.



Sustainability Product Development Manager

Bureau Veritas Thailand

It is imperative that corporations committed to sustainability need to adopt technically robust approaches to address the challenges of climate change and drive sustainable growth.