Building a more sustainable future and achieving climate progress demands bold thinking and courageous, decisive action. Tomorrow’s status will depend on today’s collaborations and efforts.

The need for climate action has never been more urgent as we have until 2030 to bend the curve in order to achieve the most ambitious emission reductions and avoid catastrophic global warming. People around the world are making small changes to counteract the negative impacts, and policymakers are growing more vocal about the changes they expect in many sectors of the economy. Corporations, often the laggards in progressive climate mitigation efforts, are beginning to make bold decarbonization commitments. The operational changes required by companies will require substantial financial and time investments with sweeping behavior changes that involve the support of the most senior executives and stakeholders to truly succeed.

But as we approach the no-return temperature rise of 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels, corporations – particularly those with solutions that can move the needle – must step up to lead. Joining forces with top corporate energy and sustainability innovators, federal and local policy leaders, and influential climate experts – like those that assemble at the Climate Leadership Conference – is critical to addressing climate change challenges and activating solutions. 

My colleagues at Trane Technologies believe that one company can change an industry and one industry can change the world. Sustainability is not just how we do business—it is our business and it influences how we make every strategic decision. This focus helps establish our culture and guides how we view innovation, engagement, and our role in solving some of the world’s greatest challenges. Our 2030 ESG commitments are driving us further to take a leadership role in tackling the world’s greatest challenges—from climate to ensuring opportunity for all—as we amplify progress towards a more sustainable future.

We’ve learned a few best practices – namely, making meaningful, science-based climate commitments requires the participation and support of leadership, encourages employee engagement, will lead to innovative solutions, and can position your company as a leader in the market to customers as you help address big challenges.

How?

  • Inspiring Participation and Support from Leadership – No great initiative can be successful without the support of the executive team or the board. These types of cultural changes must be top down.
  • Encourages Employee Engagement – While top-level support is critical, widespread behavior change is grass-roots driven. Creating ways for employees to feel included will support your sustainability strategy and can lead to long-term employee retention.
  • Leads to Innovative Solutions – Our Gigaton Challenge pledges to increase access to cooling while reducing the impact of our customer carbon footprint by 1 gigaton of CO2 by 2030.  We knew from the beginning we would not be able to achieve such an ambitious commitment alone and that it would require partnerships with groups like C2ES and TCR, and new technology to unlock breakthrough, sustainable solutions.
  • Company Positioning – Making bold commitments signals to the market that you’re willing to invest the time and resources needed to meet – and exceed – the demands of the market and expectations of all stakeholders. What’s more, being first to market with new sustainability strategies encourages additional innovation and ideation across your sector. In the end, customers won’t have to make a choice between being environmentally responsible and being fiscally responsible. The right solution can be good for the bottom line and better for the environment.