Business-led solutions for combating climate change

Published date: 29 June 2022

Podcasts share how corporate transparency can further the SDGs

What is the role of sustainability reporting in helping mitigate the effects of climate change, or protecting the oceans? 

In the latest two episodes of SDGs: The Rising Tide, experts in sustainable development and business set out to address this question – and other pressing issues on how companies can enable climate action and show accountability for their impacts on the marine environment. The regular podcast series from GRI delves into the challenges and opportunities of business reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG 13: Climate Action 

This episode explores how data and insights achieved through sustainability reporting help to measure organizational impacts on climate, and the environment more broadly. Mindy Lubber, President and CEO of Ceres, and Giulia Genuardi, Head of Sustainability Planning, Performance Management and Human Rights at Enel, share their views. 

A key focus of their discussion is on the well-established relationship between improving corporate disclosure and securing stronger financial results, and the enabling role of reporting frameworks. Mindy explains: 

“Currently, we are on a journey to get aligned, so that we do not have five different standard-setters, but only one or two. Alignment in language is also important. In 2004, we hosted our first Investors Summit on Climate Risk, inviting all the largest investors in the world. Back then, investors simply did not know what we were talking about and the impact of the environment-related issues on their portfolios. Now, of course, every one of the major financial firms does nothing but put out reports on the financial implications of climate.” 

Giulia agrees that alignment of standards is necessary, to ensure greater transparency by companies on climate impacts. She shares:  

“We have to define common guidelines – a sort of ‘common sense’ – for measuring and reporting but, at the same time, ensure the differences in language because of varied sustainability contexts around the world. At Enel, we have the same targets in different parts and sectors of the company – including the strategy, our sustainability plan, remuneration plan as well as financial instruments. That way, we are totally aligned with our purpose.” 

SDG 14: Life Below Water 

In this episode, we hear from Kate Bonzon, Vice President of the Oceans Global Initiatives at the Environmental Defense Fund, and Lene Serpa, Head of Corporate Sustainability and ESG at Maersk. They consider the current state of the world’s oceans and explore the key issues related to overfishing and the mismanagement of water resources. 

As Kate highlights: 

“Our oceans and fisheries are in trouble. The single biggest threat to the oceans is climate change. Overfishing is also taking a huge toll. Together, these two challenges are putting strain on our fisheries, marine ecosystems and food supply.” 

In the second half of the episode, Lene identifies how corporate strategy influences reaching ESG goals and targets, including the SDGs: 

“If you look at the SDGs, the greatest impact that Maersk can have is on decarbonization, which, in itself, will have an effect on improving the general health of the oceans. Of course, our ambitious goals drive greater focus on data and reporting, as we need to be able to standardize and quantify the areas where we might have negative impact. Reporting is also helping us to identify our strategic direction and opportunities.” 

The Rising Tide can be accessed on Spotify, Apple, and Google podcast. GRI would like to thank the Government of Sweden for supporting this project through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).