In my role at Workday, one of my responsibilities is looking at how our company can align with others to drive positive change in the world. A critical focus area—and one where we can all make a difference—is addressing climate change.
It’s become clear, especially in recent years, that the threat of climate change will have long-lasting consequences for our planet and communities across the globe. At Workday, we have long worked with other climate-focused leaders worldwide who believe it’s our collective responsibility to support a more sustainable future.
Given my personal and professional passion for this topic, I was honored to speak on a panel with civil society and business leaders at the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP26). The panel discussed the climate emergency, climate policy, workforce development, philanthropy, and how to support a just transition for workers who will be displaced from high-emitting industries.
And, in conjunction with COP26, we announced Workday’s position on climate policy. Playing an active and collaborative role in mitigating climate change is a top business priority. We’re supporting science-based climate policies, promoting clean energy availability, and supporting an equitable transition to a net-zero economy.
Here are some key takeaways related to climate change that are top of mind not only for us at Workday but also for sustainability advocates worldwide.
Business and Civil Society Leaders Must Band Together
Science shows if we take actions to slow global warming, there’s hope. But we need partnerships and collective participation. The intersection between a just transition, philanthropy, and getting the investment community more involved is essential.
At Workday, we support science-based policies that recognize the central role humans play in increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and we’ve committed to a 1.5°C science-based emissions reduction target. Following scientific consensus and the Paris Agreement, achieving net-zero global emissions by 2050 to prevent a rise in global warming above 1.5°C needs to be the top policy effort and the goal everyone must work toward.
It’s encouraging to know that according to the latest estimates, if nations meet their climate targets, we’ll go from a projected 2.7°C of warming to 1.8°C based on current commitments. At COP26, world leaders made two new major commitments: the methane pledge and the deforestation pledge. To reach success as a planet, every country’s outcome from annual pledges needs to track toward these goals and get more ambitious every year.
Within energy purchasing, we must find the areas of the highest impact. For example, in a collaborative effort with Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap, and Salesforce, we acted as small buyers of renewable energy. We made this effort to create a blueprint for smaller buyers to engage in similar aggregation projects to achieve the impact that traditionally only the largest corporate buyers can achieve.