Global businesses are facing an era of unprecedented disruption and transformation as a direct result of climate change. The financial cost of climate change risk, estimated to be upwards of US$1 trillion, poses a significant threat to businesses. A joint survey of more than 500 directors and C-suite executives from the world’s leading companies, conducted by global legal practice, Eversheds Sutherland, and global professional services organization, KPMG, revealed that company boards and management recognize the need to upskill to confront climate-related risks.
In addition to the survey, individual in-depth interviews were carried out with nine of the most prominent thought leaders in the areas of climate risk and sustainability. Jaakko Eskola, president and CEO of Wärtsilä Corporation was one of those interviewed.
Within the report’s foreword Jaakko Eskola highlights the growing importance of smart technologies in the global decarbonisation agenda. He speaks with detail and passion about the way new innovations are solving problems in many different parts of the marine sector and how Wärtsilä’s goal is to help more customers to reach a 100% renewable energy future.
“Everybody needs energy. But it is also a major carbon contributor. So, we need to look at individual technologies and system innovation to help improve the situation,” Jaakko Eskola states.
The report detailing the survey’s findings, Climate change and corporate value: What companies really think, was announced on Wednesday, 11 November at the Green Horizon Summit, a virtual conference held in place of the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, which is now due to be held in 2021.
Dr. Mark Carney, United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action Finance and Trustee of the World Economic Forum, and former Governor of the Bank of England, notes within the report’s Foreword:
“I would urge company boards to have a robust conversation around the risks and opportunities that climate change poses to their business; seek out this available help; and act early to mitigate climate change risks and turn them into commercial opportunities. Their focus will help break the tragedy of the horizon, creating sustainable business models that society is increasingly demanding and which future generations deserve.”
“Climate risk is a trillion-dollar problem that companies must face up to. It is not only about the physical impacts of climate change but also the transitional risk of failing to decarbonize sustainably and consequentially losing key stakeholders such as investors and customers,” as Michelle T. Davies, International Head of Clean Energy & Sustainability at Eversheds Sutherland, comments.
“Because of the recognition of climate risk across the corporate landscape, there is now much greater focus on decarbonization, and, consequently, companies need to develop a solutions mentality to develop sustainable business models. This will require upskilling boards, management and staff in areas such as corporate PPAs, energy efficiency and the circular economy,” says Mike Hayes, Global Head of Renewables for KPMG International and Global Head of Climate Change & Decarbonization for KPMG IMPACT.
Wärtsilä is included in several sustainability indices including the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, FTSE4Good Index, Ethibel Sustainability Index Excellence Europe, MSCI Global Sustainability Index Series and STOXX Global ESG Leaders Index.
Image caption: Key findings from the “Climate change and corporate value” report by Eversheds Sutherland and KPMG
Copyright: Eversheds Sutherland & KPMG International
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Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2019, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 5.2 billion with approximately 19,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 80 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.