ERM, the world’s largest pure play sustainability consultancy, has published a guide to help accelerate corporate decarbonization while managing significant climate uncertainties.

In “The Decarbonization Imperative: An Executive Primer”, ERM sets out six uncertainties facing the private sector and six essential responses that companies need to pursue to navigate the transition to net zero effectively.

The publication is designed to guide executives as they accelerate their decarbonization efforts, in part by setting aggressive climate commitments. However, doubts are emerging about whether these commitments will produce the decarbonization required to achieve the ambitions enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

ERM believes that the rising expectations about the private sector’s role in achieving global emissions goals, combined with unprecedented uncertainty driven by geopolitical events and shifts within the business operating environment, have created the need for companies to rethink both how they do business and how they integrate decarbonization actions into their core business strategies.

Mark Lee, Director of the SustainAbility Institute by ERM, said: “By adopting this blueprint and its recommendations, companies will be better equipped to implement comprehensive and effective decarbonization plans that will support the low carbon energy transition and improve their own performance. Adoption will not be easy given the enormous scale of transformation required for the economy and individual businesses, but companies must act, both to address climate change broadly and to help ensure their own future success in a marketplace set to be transformed by the transition to a net zero economy.” 

There are six climate uncertainties ERM believes matter most because of their near-universal relevance to businesses of all sizes and in all geographies. Among them are financial-related risks and opportunities attracting scrutiny from investors; geopolitical disruptions that are spurring the energy transition by driving investment in renewables but complicating global supply chains; and the balancing act between rapidly scaling uptake and integration of the most advanced decarbonization technologies with the need to raise investment for new technological solutions.

The six responses provide a framework for action that will help companies better prepare for the uncertainties they face today and adapt to future unknowns. The steps begin with climate strategy and goals, through implementation of decarbonization commitments, to product and service redesign and portfolio adjustment, through digital enablement and the change management necessary to support employees and maintain a resilient culture.

About ERM

ERM is the business of sustainability. As the largest global pure play sustainability consultancy, ERM partners with the world’s leading organizations, creating innovative solutions to sustainability challenges and unlocking commercial opportunities that meet the needs of today while preserving opportunities for future generations. ERM’s diverse team of 7,500+ world-class experts in over 170 offices across 39 countries supports clients across the breadth of their organizations to operationalize sustainability. Through ERM’s deep technical expertise, clients are well-positioned to address their environmental, health, safety, risk, and social issues. ERM calls this capability its “boots to boardroom” approach - a comprehensive service model that allows ERM to develop strategic and technical solutions that advance objectives on the ground or at the executive level.