We are just a few days away from one of the most important world summits of this century, the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP21.
The aim of this summit is to establish a before and an after in international agreements reviewing the objectives and commitments of countries in the face of climate change, completely renewing the Kyoto Protocol. This meeting is of crucial importance for the future of the planet, and the involvement of all, both developed and developing countries, is one of the major challenges to change the trend of a rapid increase in the planet’s average temperature and its consequences.
Climate change is a scientifically proven fact; nobody now calls it into question. However, action to tackle this situation has not ceased to encounter obstacles in its path, mainly due to the interests of governments and industrial lobbies which endeavour to protect their current economic development in contrast to the search for sustainable growth.
There are encouraging reasons to think that the future agreement will be more global. The desire to act collectively to maintain the increase in the average temperature of the planet below two degrees means that 195 countries have approved the draft to be negotiated at the Paris COP21.
Furthermore, in the preparatory meetings, 156 countries have already expressed their individual contributions, in terms of reducing emissions, which will be negotiated during COP21. The main carbon emission generating countries, such as the United States and China, are participating actively in the negotiation of this summit’s document, and other developing countries, such as Brazil, India and Mexico, will also be important in the agreements.
In this context, it is clear that the leadership of governments will be crucial throughout the process. However, so will the involvement of companies.
Our organization, as a benchmark in water and waste, has had a clear and firm position in this respect. This led to 12 new commitments, published on 1 October last, which cover water and also waste-related measures. These commitments are transformed into specific actions, such as the development of resilience plans against the effects of climate change for our customers; the promotion of different water uses, tripling the alternative water production capacity, and the saving of the equivalent to the water consumption of a big city (of two million inhabitants) by 2020.
It is a question of nothing less than integrating the circular economy into the backbone of an organization, including climate action in both long-term strategies and day-to-day operation. Because the success of COP21 also depends on companies and on their responsibility, speed of action and interest in adopting an active role, becoming a multiplying agent in the fight against climate change.
This summit is more than an invitation to find global solutions starting from a collective outlook. It is an ideal opportunity to establish a new game plan. A new protocol, a legal instrument for the climate which will be valid starting from 2020 and which will favour the transition toward a model of sustainable development which is less carbon-intensive. Laying strong foundations for a sustainable future is everyone’s business.