Forward Faster 2030: Climate Change

The Forward Faster Initiative, launched by the UN Global Compact on September 18, 2023, urges business leaders worldwide to take decisive and impactful action in nine specific targets spanning five thematic areas: Gender Equality, Climate Action, Living Wage, Water Resilience, and Finance & Investment. These areas have been identified as key drivers for accelerating progress across all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, where the private sector can play a significant role. This initiative aims to expedite progress towards the SDGs by mobilizing finance on a large scale, unlocking new opportunities for sustainable business models, fostering collaboration among stakeholders, and channeling investments towards projects aligned with the SDGs.

Recently, I joined UN Global Compact Network India to be part of their ‘Forward Faster 2030’ initiative.

A lake in the shape of the world’s continents in the middle of untouched nature. A metaphor for ecological travel, conservation, climate change, global warming and the fragility of nature.3d rendering

I have a keen interest in environmental issues, climate change, and water resilience having grown up nestled near the banks of Narmada in Jabalpur in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Originating from the Amarkantak plateau and coursing through Gujarat finally pouring into the Arabian Sea, Narmada holds immense significance for the people of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. I’ve seen how this river serves as the lifeline in the region. Since I learnt to swim in these waters as a child, I’ve observed fluctuations in the water level and currents of the river around Jabalpur. Episodes of drying up in summer months to flooding the banks in monsoons led me to ponder: How rapidly are we experiencing the consequences of climate change in our immediate surroundings? Can we do anything to restrict the rapid changes? Also how can we adapt and build resilience to face them?

Climate change stands as the paramount challenge of our era, and we find ourselves at a pivotal juncture. From the altering weather patterns jeopardizing food security to the escalating sea levels heightening the peril of devastating floods, the repercussions of climate change reverberate on a global scale and reach unprecedented proportions. Failing to take bold action now will exacerbate the challenge of adaptation in the future, leading to even greater difficulties and expenses.

In the face of persistent global challenges posed by climate change, there is a growing push for Indian businesses to prioritize sustainability. The United Nations Global Compact’s (UNGC) Forward Faster 2030 initiative, which calls for urgent climate action, offers a unique opportunity for companies to lead by example in sustainability. By aligning their operational strategies with the objectives of the UNGC, Indian corporations can make substantial contributions to the global effort against climate change while establishing themselves as pioneers in the realm of sustainable business practices.

I am pleased to share that 38 businesses have signed for the target with UNGC. The companies will have the first movers advantage to elevate attention to the need for action and, in particular, can rise to the climate change challenge. UNGC have an extraordinary range of efforts already underway, and the magnitude and complexity of the problem demand that we do even more.

At the UN GCNI Annual Meeting held in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, I was presented with the opportunity to talk about Climate Action which is one of the 5 focus areas of the Forward Faster 2030 initiative. I highlighted two main targets for member companies who partner with us:

  • Target 1: Companies are supposed to set targets to reduce their emissions in a way that follows scientific advice, aiming to cut global emissions in half by 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
  • Target 2: Companies should contribute to a just transition by taking concrete actions that address social impacts of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in partnership with actors such as workers, unions, communities and suppliers.

The imperative for businesses is clear: safeguard against long-term volatility by committing to net zero emissions and fostering a just transition. Why? Because taking proactive climate action is key to future-proofing the business. Additionally, to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, companies must halve emissions by 2030. Moreover, there are numerous ancillary benefits: enhancing efficiency and reducing operating costs through decreased energy usage and emissions; bolstering reputation with stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, investors, and regulators, while mitigating climate-related risks; staying ahead of policy changes and climate regulations; and ensuring an inclusive transition to an environmentally sustainable economy, leaving no one behind.

Through this commitment, businesses not only contribute to mitigating climate change but also demonstrate their dedication to fostering sustainable development and resilience. Under this initiative, the UN GCNI offers a range of resources and support to businesses committed to climate action. Companies gain access to innovative ideas, strategic plans, and practical tools to integrate sustainability into their core business strategies. Moreover, participating companies are required to publicly disclose their climate-related commitments and progress reports, fostering transparency and accountability. By leveraging the expertise and guidance provided by the UNGC, businesses can enhance their environmental performance, reduce their carbon footprint, and contribute to building a more sustainable and resilient future for all.

Through my role, I hope to strengthen my understanding in this domain and will continue to share my learning journey here with all of you. And while we embark on this journey, let’s take meaningful steps towards safeguarding our planet and ensuring a thriving environment for all, together.

UN GCNI is making consistent endeavors to promote and encourage Indian companies to sign up to the Faster Forward Initiative and drive India’s journey towards a more sustainable and equitable future. Stay tuned to our website for more insights!

To learn more about Forward Faster, please click at the Link

To learn more about Climate Action, please click at the Link