Collaboration and cooperation are commonly mentioned as important aspects of sustainability and they emerged as salient themes at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Over the course of the last year, we have seen historic collaboration on carbon emissions reduction between the US and China. We have also seen tremendous progress in some private sector areas.
While many are talking about global disunity, others are pointing to significant examples of global collaboration. John Kerry, US Secretary of State, said “I don’t see an unraveling [of international cooperation]. I see just the opposite. I see nations coming together … to reach an ambitious global agreement to address climate change, with the recent agreement by China and the United States that begins to set the targets to make the Paris negotiations this year a success.”
Over the course of the last year, businesses have come together and provided leadership on issues like sustainably sourced palm oil. This was the subject of a talk by Dominic Waughray, Head of Public/Private Partnerships at the World Economic Forum. He addressed how the peer-to-peer conversations among business leaders led to significant commitments to sustainably sourced palm oil. As of right now, over 90 percent of global palm oil demand is covered by voluntary agreements focused on sustainability.
However, the reality on the ground does not always live up to the talk, particularly in the private sector. As revealed by the BCG/Sloan Management Review annual sustainability survey which found that while 90 percent of respondents believe that collaboration is needed for sustainability, only 47 percent of companies are actually collaborating on sustainability.
We will need to see a lot of progress on the collaboration front if we are to sign a global agreement at COP21 in Paris.
“The key is coming up with a vision of how we are going to finance mitigation and adaptation to climate change,” said World Bank President Jim Kim. “We have got to get away from the mutual accusations between rich and poor and move towards cohesive collaboration.”
In both the public and the private sector we require more collaboration and cooperation to advance the sustainability agenda.
WEF Summaries: Climate Change
Towards a Global Climate Agreement at COP21 (WEF Summaries)
Business Leadership on Climate Change (WEF Summaries)
Curbing Fossil Fuels – Carbon Pricing and an End to Subsidies (WEF Summaries)
The Value of Investing in Climate Mitigation (WEF Summaries)
Global Economies Feeling the Heat from Climate Change (WEF Summaries)
What is The World Economic Forum (WEF)
Risks Associated with Environment, Climate, Water Crisis and Extreme Weather in the WEF Report