When Australia and nearly 200 other nations signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, we made a commitment to keep global warming below 1.5°C to 2°C. We now have a limited ‘carbon budget’ to expend before 2050. All signatories to the Paris Agreement must decarbonise their economies – and do so rapidly.
At the same time, the United Nations has established 17 Sustainable Development Goals, some of which demand action on climate change. The Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals send a signal to the international business community. We must take rapid steps to eliminate carbon from our business operations, or risk being left behind.
Why are buildings important?
According to the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, our buildings are responsible for 23 per cent of our nation’s carbon emissions. Buildings also offer some of the quickest, lowest-cost opportunities to reduce Australia’s emissions. ASBEC has found we can eliminate all our emissions from buildings by 2050, create healthier and more productive homes and workplaces, and save $20 billion that we would otherwise spend on energy. And we can do it all using technologies that exist today.
What does carbon positive mean?
There are many terms for buildings that use renewable energy sources to reduce or eliminate emissions, including low-carbon, carbon neutral, zero energy, zero emissions and carbon zero. A ‘carbon positive’ building takes this a step further, producing more energy than it needs and feeding that energy back into the grid.
Why should businesses take action?
Failure to adapt to climate change is materialising on the balance sheet of major corporations around the world. The S&P Global 100 Index, for example, has found 90 per cent of companies see climate risk as a current or future threat to their business. There are, however, many opportunities for businesses willing to walk the carbon positive path – and financial savings through energy efficiency are just the start.
Large and small companies are reducing their emissions to enhance their efficiency and competitiveness, enter new markets, attract investors, get ahead of regulation, manage risk and inform investment decisions.
Leading businesses around Australia are working with CitySwitch to build a carbon positive future. Your business can too.