BACK TO ALL POSTS

Research Round-up – How to stay relevant during COP27?

James Edney

09 / 11 / 2022

The hosting of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh this year marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

But how far have we come, and how well do we understand how to develop tools to tackle climate change? To help your business better understand the latest trends and findings – and what you need to do over the next 30 years – we’ve rounded up some of the latest climate change-related reports from 2022.

 

  • Measuring Up 2.0 – How the UK Performs on the Sustainable Development Goals? In 2015, the UK Government joined every other country in the world and committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read how Covid-19 impacted progress and why business engagement must shift beyond communications.

A short summary of the report:

In 2015, the UK Government joined every other country in the world and committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Goals provide a holistic framework to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, combat catastrophic climate change, and protect our natural environment by 2030. Yet, with just seven years to go and already halfway through the 2030 Agenda, we are far from achieving the Goals in the UK.

This year’s research indicates that 132 of the SDG Targets are relevant to the domestic delivery of the Goals in the UK. Of the 132 Targets, we found that the UK only performs well on 17% of them. There are gaps in policy or inadequate performance for 64% of them, and 11% where there is little to no policy in place to address the Target and where performance is poor or even declining. For the remaining 8% of Targets, gaps in available or appropriate data made it impossible to measure the UK’s performance at this time. It should also be noted that the time lag in data does not yet reveal the full extent to which COVID-19 has impacted progress across the whole Agenda.

There has, however, been a marked shift in engagement across the business and academic sectors and from communities and local government. Some of the latest insights show that business engagement so far fails to reach the level of ambition needed. Business engagement must continue to increase, but it needs to shift beyond a communications exercise and towards strategic integration. We need more organisations from all sectors in the UK to speak about the Goals and integrate them into their strategies.

Read the full report here.

 

  • The Future of Progress – Goalkeepers Report 2022 by Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates, Co-Chairs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

A short summary of the report:

In 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 ambitious goals to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change by 2030. Each year, Goalkeepers shares the latest data on 18 key data indicators, ranging from poverty to maternal mortality to education. These indicators help us understand our progress toward the Global Goals—where innovation and investment are creating bright spots, and where we’re collectively falling short. Here are some of the 2022 results:

Poverty – The world continues to face headwinds to economic growth and poverty reduction. Global shocks including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts, economic crises, and subsequent food insecurity limit opportunities for poverty reduction in countries and regions where poverty is most concentrated.

Agriculture – Over the past several years there has already been pressure on global food security due to climate change and other challenges, including the conflict in Ukraine, which has added significantly more pressure to production. We continue to see that small-holder producers lag large-scale producers and face an even bigger income and productivity crisis.

Universal Health Coverage – The Universal Health Coverage Index is a key and early indicator demonstrating the COVID-related step back in progress. Despite a decline in coverage of essential health services in 2020, health systems have demonstrated resilience and have continued long-term trends of progress from 2021.

Education – In countries where data has been collected, math and reading proficiency for girls and boys in grades 2 and 3 fall short of the levels needed to meet the target for 2030, which represents a minimum level of mastery of foundational skills. Measures of learning proficiency remain scarce, particularly in low and middle-income countries, and their reliability is often questionable.

Gender Equality – Globally, women spend 3.2 times as many hours as men performing domestic and care work, with the largest gap between men and women on average being in the North African and West Asian groups of countries. Updated statistics that include the addition of India increased the unpaid care work ratio in Central Asia and South Asia from 4.5 to 5.0 and slightly increased the global average from 2021 to 2022.

Find out more here.

 

  • How Consumers are Embracing Sustainability – 2022 report by Deloitte. The research indicates that in 2022, with fewer choices and opportunities due to the impact of inflation and supply chain disruptions, consumers are finding more ‘innovative’ ways to spend less, for example, by adopting a more sustainable lifestyle and choosing goods that are more durable or that can be reused or repaired easily. With economic uncertainty continuing, the question remains: will these behavioural changes become permanent? A short summary of the report:

Key findings:

– Adoption of sustainable lifestyle is on the rise. There is a sharp increase in the number of people who have adopted a more sustainable lifestyle in the last 12 months. Compared with 2021, consumers have significantly increased their focus on buying just what they need (+20 points), on reducing their meat consumption (+9 points) and on opting for low carbon emission modes of transport (+11 points).

– Circularity is growing in importance. Consumers are embracing ‘circularity’ with one in two (53%) claiming to have repaired an item instead of replacing it with new equivalent, 40% have also bought second-hand or refurbished goods and 38% paid extra for a more durable or longer lasting product.

– Fashion with a conscience. Consumers have become more socially conscious when purchasing clothing and footwear, reducing the number of new clothing items they buy, fixing clothes, buying second-hand/refurbished clothes, and choosing brands based on their sustainability and ethical practices.

– Consumers have some understanding of what makes a product sustainable but it is not necessarily a consideration when making a purchase. Although the majority of consumers recognise what makes a product sustainable i.e. it is biodegradable (65%) or made from recycled packaging (60%), when it comes to making a purchase, consumers value durability (52%) over recyclability (23%).

– Confusion over labelling. Only one in four consumers see labelling a product as responsibly sourced or manufactured as an indication that the product is sustainable, and only one in five rate labelling as very important when considering a purchase.

– Sustainable practices that consumers value. Frequent and essential purchases drive the greatest consumer interest in sustainable and ethical values. Discretionary purchases such as alcohol and tobacco, nights out, and major purchases such as cars generate less interest. Overall, consumers’ top five most important environmentally sustainable or ethical practices are:

1. Producing sustainable packaging and products
2. Reducing waste in manufacturing process
3. Committing to ethical working practices
4. Reducing carbon footprint
5. Respect for human rights

– Barriers to being more sustainable. The primary reasons for not adopting a more sustainable lifestyle are related to cost (52%), lack of interest in the issue of sustainability (51%) and not having enough information (48%).

– Make it affordable. When it comes to helping consumers become more sustainable, given that the primary barrier to becoming more sustainable relates to cost, it is not surprising that making it more affordable to choose sustainable alternatives leads every other consideration, with nearly one in two respondents (57%) citing it as the main area to address. Next, consumers would welcome better schemes to remove plastic and packaging (54%) and more clarity on disposal and recycling (46%).

– The price is not right. One in two consumers are either not willing to pay more for sustainability or are unsure whether they would. Only one in four consumers would pay more for sustainable packaging and products.

– An issue of trust. Nearly one in two consumers either do not know what commitments businesses have made that they can trust or simply do not trust businesses on climate change and sustainability issues.

Find the data here.