The world still has an opportunity to reverse the harmful impacts of climate change - and large businesses are crucial to the fight. Businesses contribute 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions and any meaningful impact on reducing mankind’s carbon emissions requires an equally meaningful commitment from large corporates.
As a leading provider of supply chain solutions, we have taken a momentous pledge to set another milestone in our sustainability journey with an official commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a global project that aims to provide business leaders with the accountability framework they need to reduce their carbon footprint.
SBTi is a collaboration between CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The initiative defines, promotes and showcases best practices on setting science-based targets to reduce emissions, and independently assesses and approves targets set by committed companies. Businesses can transform society by setting these targets, delivering on ambitious but achievable reductions in emissions and demonstrating to governments that it is possible to reverse the rapid deterioration of climate health.
We are the first logistics company and only the third organization in Sri Lanka to make the SBTi commitment. “This puts us on a path beyond mere good intentions,” says its Global Lead – Sustainability, Sabrina Yusoof. “SBTi gives us specific targets that we can measure our progress against. It’s a real call to action within EFL- we’re signaling to our employees, shareholders and clients that we mean to make real change.”
Furthermore, we have already made significant strides across our structure to implement concrete changes; earlier this year we announced a further expansion of our solar powered facility at Orugodawatta; the first LEED Gold Accredited facility of its kind which follows an ISO 14064:2006 certification to quantify and report on their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is, in addition, to becoming the first Sri Lankan company to obtain membership for Green Freight Asia and initiating a five year commitment to plan over 125,000 trees to revive the Bundala National Park in 2019.
We have already completed the first step of setting Science Based Targets by making the commitment (recognized formally on the SBTi website). The next step is to get a plan for achieving the SBTs approved by SBTi within the next 24 months, and work towards our commitment along the supply chain to achieve the common goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This could mean 11 million fewer people exposed to extreme heat, 61 million fewer people exposed to drought, and 10 million fewer people exposed to the impacts of sea level rise.
Apart from the human and environmental benefits of achieving this target by the turn of the century, it could result in preventing severe global economic losses-the value of services provided by a functioning biosphere averages approximately USD 125 trillion a year. The business case is also quite clear; a secure environment keeps supply chains secure from flood and extreme weather risks and begets more stable business operations.
“Businesses that set Science Based Targets immediately start to change the way they work”, says Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP describing what SBTi means for its stakeholders. They innovate, think about the future in a different way, and drive cost effectiveness by reducing energy costs and becoming more energy productive.
“At the end of the day, it’s about taking ownership of the commitment that we as a company have already made to reduce our footprint,” says Sabrina; paraphrasing a quote from Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute, affirming “We’re moving beyond talking about just ‘doing better’, to actually doing enough.”