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Business leaders; prepare to accelerate climate actions through innovation in 2021

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By Scott Sharp, founder of Leading Edge Only.

If there’s one thing that’s high on the agenda for businesses this year, it’s climate change and their contribution to it. In the run up to COP26 and everything in between, the ‘green agenda’ will become more and more prominent and is no longer going to be the elephant in the room as we have previously seen. Business leaders will and should expect to see, empowerment in the form of climate champions within their organisations across every department. It is up to business owners and sustainable advocates to provide employees with the channels, functionality, expertise or tools they need to drive corporate climate actions forward – the more innovative, the better.

That being said, and while climate advocates can exist within an organisation, when it comes to delivering ESG goals, collective climate challenge calls for a pre-existing innovative spirit and the means to turn it into concrete solutions. Unfortunately not all businesses are geared up for this and shouldn’t be afraid to bring in outside specialists to establish climate goals, create tangible plans and ways to measure the impact.

Despite a tremendous amount of existing climate innovation, and the constant evolution of this landscape, it seems there still remains little collaboration between innovators themselves and those who are in a position to fund and scale their projects. There is a potential downfall that could contribute to businesses being set back or even being left behind if they don’t go outside of their comfort zone to discover and invest in a forward-thinking climate positive strategy – especially if the skillset is missing with the inner team.

It is down to strategic partnerships that will harness this great opportunity, creating the right condtions for an ecosystem of innovation that is readily accessible for companies and capable of catalysing widespread climate action. An entire ecosystem of climate experts, advisors, and innovators exist, all bringing a range of creative ideas and best practices that businesses can adopt. This doesn’t need to be overwhelming or only relevant for large enterprise organisations, corporate climate goals will be prominent in businesses of all sizes and across pretty much every sector. But the action taken will differ and that’s where dedicated climate networks can really shine.

Tapping into that expertise to achieve corporate ESG is not as difficult as you might think. There are hundreds of vetted, qualified and proven climate innovators and experts, with global solutions ranging from AI-based reforestation techniques to novel recycling technologies to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy. What’s important here is the steps that are taken and over time, there is no pressure for businesses to achieve their climate positive goal overnight.

Connecting with climate solutions for businesses comes at just about every step or process in a business lifecycle. It could be the critical factor at R&D stage for a new product that needs to address climate action, the brand identity required to visually represent what climate change means or climate tech itself that needs a little external help – accessing the innovation that’s needed for this specific goal is being led by a few key networks.

One in particular is the Climate Innovators Network. Working closely with strategic partners, the network is dedicated to connecting the dots between organisations and those specialists who can provide climate innovation solutions. It is one network entirely committed to leading the green transition with solutions that can support them in meeting their climate commitments. What really stands out about this is the option to bring innovation within your broader business strategy, at any stage and for any length of time. This approach naturally allows innovators to work alongside existing employees within a business or take a more consultancy approach to complete achieve identified corporate ESG.

Without a shadow of a doubt this year, I expect to see more colleagues and peers collaborating to accelerate tangible action to tackle climate change and majority of this to take place online. Many organisations will be starting from a blank slate but the important thing is that they are starting and even the smallest of steps taken to drive climate actions through innovation are better than no actions at all.


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