Business carbon management and the implications for SDGs

Event: ISAP2018
Date: 2018 19 July

 Climate change strongly features in the introductory text to the SDGs, owing to broad consensus on the need to integrate it therein.
 Carbon pricing, as a market mechanism, is posited as a key measure for tackling climate change in contrast to existing voluntary or regulation-driven management approaches for GHG mitigation.
 Industrial companies, which large amounts of energy and materials in their processing flows, need to be made accountable for their GHG emissions, thus are the main targets under carbon pricing.
 Considering the complex and high direct/indirect impacts of business on each SDG, corporate proactive carbon management is vital to achieve the policy goals related to carbon pricing and climate change under SDGs.
 SDG interlinkage analysis shows that SDGs associated with company carbon management interplay strongly and beneficially with the following SDGs commonly in Japan and China in the areas of: reduced death rates due to degraded environment (Target 3.9), protection of water-related ecosystem (Target 6.6), ensuring affordable and clean energy (Target 7.1), decent work and economic growth (Target 8.1), universal and affordable access to information and communications technology (9.c), sustainable waste management (Target 12.4 and 12.5), enhancing capacity for effective climate change planning (Target 13.b), and international cooperation on science, technology and innovation (Target 17.6).
 Corporate carbon engagement in China exhibits some characteristics that differ from those of Japan, specifically in improvements in agricultural productivity and food production systems (Target 2.3 and 2.4), enhancement of universal access to safe drinking water (Target 6.1) and international cooperation on water-and sanitation (Target 6.a), upgraded social, economic and political inclusion of all (Target 10.2) through education and job opportunities (Target 4.3 and 4.4) and equality (Target 10.3) were remarkable, meaning the SDGs associated with the activities of corporate carbon strategies are intermixed with social development.
 Contrary to the assumption that business and industry would proactively engage in the carbon, their actual response to the policy transition towards market mechanisms is still in its early stages. Companies appear to view SDGs as only affecting their corporate image and social contribution, presumably due to low awareness of the benefits and competitive advantages engaging with the SDGs provide.
 How policy on climate change is implemented greatly affects institutional awareness, capacity and technology adoption in industrial processes. Encouraging the private sector to take part in carbon management strategies that go beyond conventional standards and norms will require the government to provide ongoing policy support to improve market functionality and effectiveness.