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Sustainability schemes deployed by business most often ineffective, research reveals

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: A recent spike in global surface air temperature to 2.07°C above pre-industrial levels highlights a critical moment in climate change
• This coincides with COP28, drawing attention to the need for stronger climate actions from both governments and businesses
• However, despite the urgency, there's evidence of companies misrepresenting their environmental efforts and reducing green spending

🔭 The context: The analysis focused on 20 leading environmental sustainability schemes, like the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Reporting Initiative, and Certified B Corporations
• These frameworks are intended to guide companies in sustainable practices, but the study questions their effectiveness in driving significant environmental progress.

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The research underscores a critical issue: many sustainability schemes primarily address incremental changes and overlook comprehensive emissions, including those from supply chains
• This approach limits the overall impact of these schemes on global sustainability efforts, emphasizing the need for more encompassing and effective environmental strategies.

⏭️ What's next: The study identified several schemes that offer more comprehensive approaches, such as those focusing on circular economy, doughnut economics, planetary boundaries, The Natural Step framework, and ISO 14001 certification
 • These models provide a more holistic view of sustainability, encouraging practices that could lead to more substantial environmental benefits

💬 One quote: "In practice, companies are left to navigate the options available and decide on the best course of action."

📈 One stat: Unilever's 2021 sustainability report revealed that while it achieved a 64% reduction in operational carbon emissions, its supply-chain emissions accounted for 98.8% of its total emissions.

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