Abhijit Sunil, Senior Analyst
There was a fair amount of skepticism heading into the COP28 Conference last month. For starters, it was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a major oil producer, and the conference president was the head of a major oil company in the UAE. There were also concerns about the number of fossil fuel industry lobbyists coming to the event. But Senior Analyst Abhijit Sunil, who was at the event, says there were plenty of positive takeaways once all was said and done. In this episode, he discusses what he saw and heard at the event as well as some of its key agreements and declarations.
Regarding the event’s location in the UAE, Sunil says that the location may have helped draw a record number of leaders from global corporations and organizations to the event. Sunil emphasizes that there were many positive declarations coming out of COP28, covering areas such as building sustainability, renewables and energy efficiency, and climate relief and recovery. “We’ll have to wait and see how all of this translates into policies, but it at least got a good push in discussions,” he says.
The biggest agreement coming out of COP28 was the commitment by all participating countries to transition away from fossil fuels by 2050. Skeptics raised concerns about the long-term nature of the agreement and a possible loophole that would let countries out of the commitment down the road. Sunil agrees that longer-term goals are easier to avoid but expects that future COP events will nail down more specific benchmarks between now and 2050.
Later in the episode, the conversation turns to the value of sustainability monitoring software for more proactive reporting of climate-related metrics and the benefit of adopting unified systems to automate data collection, carbon footprint reduction planning, and reporting. Sunil points out that the move from manual spreadsheet-based accounting to dedicated software platforms will improve data governance, reduce errors, and enable better audit practices, which may reduce some greenwashing claims.
“As more and more organizations adopt these software platforms, it will then enable them to create better audit practices,” says Sunil. “Now is the time to take action and look into investing in a unified system that will help automate climate-related reporting.”
The episode closes with Sunil providing his guidance on tying sustainability efforts to business optimization efforts and the importance of identifying the ROI up front. “It’s easier to [do that] now than ever before,” he says.