[28 July 2022]

Climate Change? It’s Not My Business

My name is Emer McDonagh and I am currently an Intern working at Aura, and what a better week to start than Humber Business Week.

As part of Humber Business Week, I attended the ‘Climate Change? It’s Not My Business’ conference at Aura Innovation Centre. This event was hosted by Linda Whicker and Dr Sarah Shaw from the University of Hull, who are experts on the business of climate change.

This event highlighted the importance of carbon mapping for businesses, helping them to develop economic resilience and continuously adapt as bio-diversity is being affected more and more (most significantly in the last generation.)

This event enhanced my knowledge and really opened my eyes! It looked at the following three specific areas: Carbon neutrality, climate tipping points and what organisations can do to help their environmental impact.

Carbon neutrality

I learnt that through businesses still emitting high rates of carbon into the atmosphere they are adversely affecting the atmosphere and impacting the greenhouse effect, and that “It is estimated that 8 billion tonnes of carbon needs to be removed from the atmosphere by 2050 in addition to mitigation” – McKinnon 2022.

The key emitters have been identified for organisations but the focus now needs to be on how we transition through by looking and developing supply chains.

For many organisations there is a problem with ‘greenwashing’ as they believe they are positively contributing to achieving a carbon neutral atmosphere.

However, it has been made evident to me that there needs to be an emphasis on how the science needs to be advocated to help people see how to take action and create solutions. This event really helped me develop my understanding and made me want to be more proactive.

Delegate feedback was positive and included a reflection from one attendee that:

“I knew a bit about climate change before, but I’ve learned loads about the science behind the headlines. It’s really brought it home to me that we need to take climate change seriously – I’m going back to the office to make sure my organisation takes action now.”

Climate Tipping Points

It was alarming to learn there are a serious of climate ‘tipping’ points’. These include things such as the loss of the Amazon Rainforest or the West Antarctica Ice Sheet. These events would create an intercalated tipping point leading to irreversible damage across several biophysical systems committing the planet to a no point of return. I didn’t realise how close we all are to our last chance.

What small actions can businesses take now?

This event highlighted small steps we can all begin to take today in order to help to achieve this goal. These included:

I personally did not realise what an impact we can individually create through carrying out these steps.

At the Aura Innovation Centre we have created a roadmap to help businesses start their journey to Net Zero.

Why not check your own progress?