In a session titled “Integrating Net Zero Commitments into ERM Plans” at the RIMS ERM Conference 2021, Michelle Tuveson, executive director of the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies, led an interactive session focused on how risk managers were handling their companies’ emission reduction pledges and efforts. Tuveson told the audience that while one-third of companies in G20 countries had signed onto “net zero” commitments—promises to eventually eliminate their companies’ carbon emissions completely—it is unclear how much analysis went into these pledges. As countries around the world start to require emission reporting, this lack of analysis (plus a lack of data to assess progress) is a major concern for these companies’ risk managers.
The audience seemed to back up this assertion. Tuveson conducted a live poll, which revealed that most attendees felt that their industries were on the less prepared side for net zero developments and that their ERM and net zero plans were not very integrated. When asked which group was most driving their companies’ climate action, most answered that it was investors/rating agencies (31%), followed by the board and executive management (20%), consumers (17%), and peer companies (11%).
Tuveson was joined by Joerg Osterloh, director of enterprise risk management at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, who outlined the company’s net zero activities. With a commitment to be net zero by 2040, it had already reduced emissions across the company by 30% by 2019. The company was prioritizing this effort partially because it saw climate change risks “front and center,” impacting all aspects of its supply chain.
Osterloh credited a strategy that included analyzing how much emissions each sector of the company’s business produced, then strategically addressing each. For Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, the most emissions came from drink packaging, which was not as easy to reduce as other categories like operations and supply cooling. Overall, Osterloh noted the importance of being fully transparent in the company’s net zero activities and its advocacy to influence public policy on transitioning to a low carbon future. He also stressed investing now in new technologies, rather than waiting for those technologies to mature.
At least some risk managers and their companies may already be following this advice. In a final poll, most audience members said that the focus of their companies’ net zero strategy was substituting renewable power (26%), followed by greening supply chains (19%), adopting new technologies (18%), altering products and services (15%), and purchasing carbon offsets (9%).
If you missed this session, it and many of the other sessions at RIMS ERM Conference 2021 can be viewed on-demand online.