Last month, we celebrated B-Corp month – a month to raise awareness of all things related to the purpose and positive impact of B-Corps across the globe. The focus of B-Corp month is on the company’s overall impact on society, its workers, and of course – the environment. During B-Corp month, the B-Corp Climate Collective, a group of certified B corporations working together to help advance actions on the climate emergency and climate justice, published The Climate Justice Playbook for Business: How to centre climate action in Climate Justice. The playbook is a useful resource providing insights and guidance on how companies can create a shift in their attitudes and behaviours. This shift is towards creating ‘regenerative and equity driven’ change in order to bring about climate action and social justice.
In tandem with B-Corp month, we at Maanch finalised a comprehensive report: Demystifying the UK ESG Investing Ecosystem. The report discusses the UK’s position as a global leader in sustainable finance. Most recently, the UK became the first country to implement a mandatory Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reporting. This requires investors, banks, and companies to make climate-related financial risk disclosures, establishing a major commitment to climate action in order to transition to a more sustainable economy. In the long term, such a step supports not only the success of investments and the economy, but the meaningful actions needed to accelerate climate action and create a more transparent and open avenue towards achieving climate justice.
What is Climate Justice?
Climate Justice recognises that those who are least responsible for climate change are more likely to suffer the worst consequences of its impact.
Climate change is a crisis created by humans. Those who possess economic power and privilege are considered the most responsible for its negative impact. Climate Justice is a direct response to this dynamic. It is centred around protecting the most vulnerable communities across the globe – mainly BIPOC and those from low socio-economic backgrounds. Developing countries are considered hardest hit, particularly across Africa and Asia having experienced some of the worst extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change. Climate Justice observes the climate crisis through a human rights lens. It demands global action on an individual and collective level in order to address and mitigate the unfair human cost of climate change.
- 50 of the least most developed countries in the world account for less than 1% of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
- Extreme weather and climate change has driven 34 million people into acute food insecurity.
- 92% of accumulated greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to countries from the Global North – only 19% of the global population, whilst only 8% of emissions are attributable to countries from the Global South.
- In 2020, 66% of 355 extreme weather events were made more likely or worse by climate change.
- According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, by 2050 there will be an estimated 20% increase in malnourished children due to climate change.
Who is affected most by climate change?
According to the UN, women and children are 14 times more likely than men to die during events and disasters related to climate change. Rising temperatures as a result of climate change have caused storms and droughts to become more severe, destroying areas inhabited by communities, as well as ‘low-level’ areas being affected by rising sea levels. Women comprise one fourth of the agriculture labour force globally. They therefore bear the brunt of climate change consequences when lower yields caused by crop failure impact their income levels and their ability to provide food for themselves and their children.
Indigenous people and minority groups are amongst the worst affected by climate change. Their close relationship with their natural environment puts them in a particularly vulnerable position to suffer the effects of climate change. Yet, often, indigenous and minority groups face the most disadvantage when it comes to receiving adequate help and response in the immediate aftermath of climate related disasters. They also face the most discrimination throughout the implementations processes of strategies designed to deal with the future impacts of climate change.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Goal 13: Climate Action – ‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’.
Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
SDG 16 has been linked to climate action from the perspective that climate change impacts the ability to “provide peace and security, strengthen governance and justice, and ensure social and economic development” (International Institute for Sustainable Development). Both goals are crucial to tackling environmental injustice and discrimination, and in bringing about climate justice to those affected most by climate change.
Organisations focused on Climate Justice
There are a number of organisations focused on climate justice. Below are just a few of the key organisations working on this area:
The Climate Justice Alliance, based in the USA, mobilises frontline communities and organisations, creating a force for change that builds resilient, regenerative, and equitable economies in the fight against climate injustice, and puts race, gender, and class at the centre of solutions.
The Environmental Justice Foundation is a global charity that works with communities that help to sustain their natural habitats and the environment which they depend on for their basic needs and livelihoods.
The UK Youth Climate Coalition brings 18-29 years olds across the UK together and empowers them to take positive action for climate justice, creating a just, sustainable world in which current and future generations are able to protect and enjoy.
Client Earth is an ambitious environmental organisation working in over 50 countries to protect life on earth using the power of law to bring about systemic change.
Key considerations and what can be done to achieve climate justice
Given the severe consequences of climate change and its increasingly negative impact on the most vulnerable in society, we are at a crucial juncture whereby serious action must be taken; this will require businesses to play a leading role in the pursuit of reducing carbon emissions and bringing about climate justice. Government regulations to support business action, and a continuous commitment to hitting the SDG goals as well as ensuring that climate targets align with the Paris Agreement, are crucial to the ambitious work that needs to be done to ensure climate justice is achieved.
Below are some key considerations that businesses must keep in mind along their climate action journey:
- The work is very challenging: it requires new and innovative ways of thinking and starts from an individual level.
- Centred in climate justice must be people and equity: it is important that we take lead from those impacted the most by climate change, and that they are listened to and protected.
- We need to work together: businesses cannot focus alone on their impact, collaborative action is key to solving the issue of climate change and achieving equity and justice.
- We need to get started now: many of us will be at the start of the journey, you are not alone.
- There must be a fundamental shift in mindset: in order to address exploitative approaches that allow the continuation of harm and injustice, the global business community must shift to a more forward-thinking mindset that is focused on social and environmental wellbeing.
(Source: B-Corp Climate Collective: The Climate Justice Playbook for Business)
At Maanch, we harness the power of technology and digitalisation to help address climate change in order to achieve a better and more sustainable future for everyone.
Blog by Maanch team member Shalinder Carter.