The Hard Deadline: 2 Degrees

If it wasn’t the Paris Climate agreement that brought it to our awareness, it was when Trump pulled out of it when the world was dumbstruck by a looming threat: a 2 degrees temperature increase is the limit of civilization-as-we-know-it’s ability to cope. Yet by all indications, we’re now very firmly set on a 3+ degrees trajectory.

This is particularly evident in the Outdoor Industry, where the disappearing glaciers, crumbling and sliding mountainsides, and ever shorter ski seasons are the tangible result of how our businesses and bottom lines are already being significantly impacted by climate change.

Global temperature increase is directly related to the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Therefore, if we were to reduce all things “sustainable” to a single measure, it would invariably be our Carbon Footprint – the amount of carbon we emit into the atmosphere via our operations and products.

The good news is: effective approaches are in place that give businesses support to work towards their own 2-degree trajectory goals in terms of their Carbon Footprint. It’s just a matter of getting started.

Reliable measuring methods for assessing annual CO2 output already exist, structured such that the complexity and accuracy of the measurements increase with the level of competency a company has at its disposal. This means that the method can be adapted for beginners right to the highly experienced (reflected in Scope 1 to 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol).

Of course, measuring alone doesn’t change anything. We need action. With the Paris Agreement, we have now set the finish line at a low-carbon society by 2050. So, all that’s really left is for businesses to set and meet so-called Science-Based Targets, targets that are in line with the 2-degree trajectory, by roughly halving CO2 emissions every decade.

That’s how simple – and how difficult – it is.

Pamela Ravasio, Head of CSR & Sustainability
European Outdoor Group

Pamela Ravasio

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