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Read and share Parliament Hill insights and news on the tips, trends, and key developments we’ve identified for benefit management and member satisfaction.

Thoughts on COP27

In a cost-of-living crisis, we, as individuals, have an opportunity to adapt our behaviour towards energy and food waste to benefit not only our own wallets but the planet. But what about Parliament Hill, membership organisations and the Government who serves us? Dr Mark Pegg considers all these during the COP27 event (6 Nov 2022 – 18 Nov 2022).

Phew what a scorcher! What a summer we've had! Endless heat, hottest day on record, reservoirs running dry, hosepipe ban, grass baked to straw. Climate change is happening now, not some distant point in the future. Meteorological Office records show 2022 was the joint warmest summer in England measured by mean temperature, meaning four of the five warmest English summers recorded have occurred since 2003.

Public awakening

Before we get too gloomy, there is plenty each of us can do to slow temperature rise. Travelling around the UK, I witness widespread public acceptance that action is needed right now: go green, reach net zero and save the planet. And I see change to do it springing up everywhere, from coastal windfarm arrays to solar farms. Sales of green products and services for the home have broken all records.

All of us should already know plenty of practical steps we can do personally: turn the thermostat down, switch off lights and computers, go paperless, go digital, cycle or walk don't drive, no single use containers and recycle whenever possible. In a cost-of-living crisis, we have every incentive, and this is really about our self-discipline, walk the talk every day: ask not what your world can do for you, but what you can do for your world.

Parliament Hill's sustainability mission

At the organisational level, Parliament Hill is not asking you to do more than they seek to do themselves. They are committed to work as a team towards a more sustainable future and they want to make it easier for their clients, partners and members to go green too because they are at the heart of everything they do. Parliament Hill recently secured Level 2 accreditation from Green Mark, an international environmental certification service for organisations. They want to give all their stakeholders assurance their business is performing to recognised environmental standards. It involves applying a framework of tools that raises everyone's awareness, spreads best practice on living and working in a 'sustainable' way, educating and encouraging staff with regular sharing on better ways to reduce emissions.

These green disciplines are available to any organisation wanting to take a more sustainable approach and, in the process, engage and motivate people, to present a more positive profile to members, customers and clients alike. Powerfully underpinned by three interrelated pillars – social, environmental and economic – Parliament Hill believes this vision drives clear green policies and is good for business. Although working smarter from better insulated and more fuel-efficient buildings, just as much or more can be achieved by nurturing a work culture that continually delivers green impacts.

But what about governments?

COP27 thermometerWhat are our leaders doing to ensure a sustainable future? Now is a good time to tell them what you think with climate conference COP27 coming up in Sharm El-Sheikh in November. Expectations are high – close to the heart of our new king and his citizens alike. We expect delegates to be super-motivated after the summer we've had, at times it seemed like looming Armageddon, extreme weather across the globe, great loss of life with people starving in horrendous famines, homes destroyed by catastrophic floods, firefighters risking their lives to extinguish massive forest fires, regular news of glaciers shrinking or even disappearing altogether.

The goals for COP27

The main goal is to continue the delivery of 'Paris Agreement' commitments on climate change agreed at COP21 in 2015. Almost every country in the world is committed to:

  • Keep the rise in global average temperature to 'well below' 2°C, ideally 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels;
  • Strengthen the ability to adapt to climate change and build resilience;
  • Align finance flows with 'a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development'.

Progress on cutting greenhouse gases is well behind schedule and the pressure is on. COP27 will have a 'global stocktake' to assess progress towards Paris Agreement objectives, including mitigation, adaptation and finance:

  1. Mitigation is cutting emissions: This is vital because even small increases in temperature can impact on the most vulnerable very quickly – islands sinking below the waves in the Pacific or drought and crop failure in East Africa. Current data suggests worryingly that even if the targets agreed in Paris are fully implemented soon – which seems unlikely – it would still mean warming of some 2.4°C by the end of the century.
  2. Adaptation is adjusting our lives to handle climate change impacts better – it gets less attention and less funding. COP27 is purposely taking place in a highly climate-vulnerable country on a highly climate-vulnerable continent. At COP26, efforts to act on this included the Glasgow Climate Pact, urging developed countries to at least double adaptation funding for the third world.
  3. Finance as ever is key. Developing countries are angered by the developed world's failure to deliver on promises of financial support to assist poor nations in adaptation and mitigation: 'they cause it, we suffer the consequences' is the way they see it. The goal of $100 billion of annual climate finance which developed countries agreed to deliver annually from 2020-25 has not yet been achieved.

So, what can you do?

Why not sit down and review your own green actions – ask how hard you are working to reduce your own impact on the environment? Contribute to debates at work and press for green issues, make sure they are never somehow left off the agenda as a saving or unaffordable expense. Don't stay silent. The time to talk truth unto power on climate change is now. We only have one planet, save it for all of us, our children and our children's children.

Author: Dr Mark Pegg, Director, Chalfont Associates

Find out more about Parliament Hill's Sustainability Journey

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