The potential threats posed by climate change are significant and urgent. But while tackling climate change presents serious challenges, it also offers significant opportunities.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face as a society and it is already wreaking havoc. Fires in the Amazon, California, Indonesia and most recently Australia are serving as a totemic reminder of the fragility of our ecosystems faced with a changing climate.
Since the Paris Agreement in 2015, science has shown that limiting global average temperature rise to no more than 1.5⁰C is far preferable if we are to avoid the worst forecast effects of climate change. But this means rapidly accelerating progress towards a net zero emissions world by 2050. It requires systemic change and resource mobilisation – at a speed and scale never seen outside wartime.
Of the environmental risks identified by the World Economic Forum in its annual , five can be linked to climate change: extreme weather events, climate action failure, natural disasters and biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters. The risks presented by climate change cross the boundaries between nations, continents, industries and societies, such as food and water crises, and large-scale involuntary migration.
We advocate for policies that advance the goal of the Paris Agreement – limiting global temperature rises to no more than 2⁰C, and ideally 1.5⁰C, by the end of the century. Taking action against the risks of climate change is a necessity. For Unilever, this means transforming diets, transforming agricultural production and ending commodity-driven deforestation associated with the production of tropical commodities, accelerating the use of renewable energy and electric vehicles to reduce carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide from energy, and finding new solutions to propellants and refrigerants that currently use super-pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The greenhouse gases (GHG) pillar of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) contributes to a number of the (SDGs), primarily: Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7); Climate Action (SDG 13) and Life on Land (SDG 15).