I recently realised that it’s been a while since I updated my list of best sustainability reports – and there’ve been quite a few heavy-hitters over the past few months.
For those who didn’t read last year’s list: welcome! This is where I earmark some of the most thought-provoking papers that have crossed my path as of late. I hope you’ll find them as challenging and inspiring as I have.
My must-read sustainability reports:
It’s a mouthful, but the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)’s pioneering framework could not have come at a better time. This initial report lays the groundwork for corporations and financial institutions to begin disclosing their nature-related risks and opportunities. Why is this important? Well, it’s an important acknowledgement of how much we rely on our natural environment for, well, everything. The report states that over half of the world’s economic output – priced at 44 trillion USD – depends on our planet’s biodiversity. The hope is that once we’ve gained a more sophisticated understanding of our dependencies on nature, we’ll start taking better care of it.
This one really made me sit up. The 2022 Global Risks Report highlights ‘climate action failure’ as their top risk for this decade (surprise, surprise), but goes further to argue that we must ‘embrace the disorderly net-zero transition’ if we’re going to decarbonise in time to avert the worst effects of climate change. A ‘disorderly’ transition will cause disruptions in the short-term, like energy supply constraints and price fluctuations, but the report argues that the pace of an ‘orderly’ transition would now be ‘too little, too late’. Instead, we should look to the opportunities that can be – and have been – seized during periods of disorder for hope. A bold, thought-provoking read that’s not at all what you’d expect.
An obvious addition to the list, but how could I not include it? The last report in the IPCC’s current scientific cycle is an analysis of current mitigation processes and the impact of long-term climate pledges. Okay, bad news first: current trajectories have us at 3.2 °C of warming before the end of this century. But there is good news in here too: the report looks at how the cost of solar and wind energy has fallen steeply, as have lithium ion batteries, making the green transition more feasible than ever. The hope of 1.5 °C is still alive, and the IPCC’s ‘Mitigation’ report lays out exactly what is required from us to make it happen – governments, businesses and individuals alike.