The Race to Zero Emissions & Resilience

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This week marks the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, part of a historic month in what has proven a truly historic time. Last week we watched the newly sworn-in President Joe Biden immediately re-enter into the Paris climate agreement and WHO. In his inauguration speech, President Biden pledged to “repair our alliances, and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday's challenges but today's and tomorrow's challenges”.

Additionally, on January 19th UN Secretary-General, António Guterres launched a new three-year strategy for the UN Global Compact to increase corporate sustainability and business principles. With this he stated, “now is the time to scale up the global business community’s contributions to the 2030 Agenda and the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change”. Wood, which I recently joined, is committed as an UN Global Compact member to accelerate the delivery of this important strategic mission both internally and with our clients and partners, collaborating to create innovative solutions to help ensure a greener and more resilient world. Wood is committed to a sustainable future having set our business targets to achieve a 40% reduction in our scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030.

We now enter a week of meaningful conversations on how to ‘build back better’, a concept made universal and originated by António Guterres. This is reflected in the official theme of the World Economic Forum 2021 and the special annual meeting in the spring, called ‘The Great Reset’. The theme selected by Klaus Schwabe, Chairman of the World Economic Forum, reflects that businesses are not ready to settle for a “return” or a “rebuild” after Covid-19. Instead, the world is striving for a “reset”. Each day this week we will see discussions within the five domains of the Great Reset Initiative:

  • Designing cohesive, sustainable, and resilient economic systems.
  • Driving responsible industry transformation and growth.
  • Enhancing stewardship of our global commons (the High Seas, the Deep-Sea Bed, the Atmosphere, Antarctica, and Outer Space).
  • Harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (or the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology).
  • Advancing global and regional cooperation.

As an advisor to the WEF Climate Governance Initiative (CGI) which was launched in 2019, and in my role at Wood, I look forward to strengthening the implementation of climate governance principles defined by CGI into corporations from board rooms to the operational level.

Starting this week, ambitions around climate will be embedded into every conversation and the race to zero emissions and the race to resilience will surely be accelerated. This brings an emphasis to strong public-private-partnerships, ESG reporting, and domain expertise within all industries to do what is needed, and to operationalise the 10 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Ambitions, which I was part of launching last year at Davos with the UN Secretary General and UN Global Compact. Within the 10 (SDG) ambitions, 1.5 is the climate goal around science-based emissions reduction in line with a 1.5° C pathway. Wood is committed to having a positive environmental and social impact, and I am thrilled to join an expert team that is on a quest to unlock solutions to the world’s most critical challenges. I’m really excited about the opportunity to help companies redefine and rethink how they operate to mitigate the impact of climate change, while at the same time responding to growing demand for energy and resilient infrastructure.

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