Calling on the Private Sector to Commit to the Fight Against Climate Change

Dark blue banner with an image of Alejandra smiling on the far right and on the left white text reads: It's time for the private sector to prioritise the climate crisis.

By Alejandra Tellez, Co-Founder ClimaLab


We invite diverse voices to contribute to our blog. The opinions in this blog reflect the personal views of the author and not One Young World.


To date, the climate ambition of the private sector worldwide has been insufficient. Every degree of warming counts. The lack of commitment from extractive sectors, world powers, governments and much of the private sector remains a significant obstacle to achieving climate justice and meeting the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda by 2030.


Businesses must act swiftly. Historically, there has never been a greater commitment from the corporate sector to climate action; however, current efforts are still not enough The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reiterated in its latest reports that the globe will soon exceed a 1.5°C increase. This will be devastating, as we are already seeing.


Alejandra standing in front of the icons for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals


Recent examples of climate impacts around the world


Recent examples of climate displacements are numerous and alarming:







Implementing climate solution initiatives in Colombia


As a social and climate change entrepreneur and advocate, planning, designing and implementing environmental projects has been my passion and target for years. I am the co-founder and former CEO of Climalab NGO in Colombia, and I hold a master's degree in Climate Change, Development, and Policy at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Sussex University, 


Working to generate a positive impact on an environmental and social level is and will always be my priority. The planet needs fast and smart solutions ungently. At Climalab NGO we have impacted more than 30,000 people in the last seven years, including women, children, youth, Indigenous people and rural communities, mainly. We work in different regions of Colombia implementing different adaptation plans to climate change with an ancestral, gender and peace perspective. We have also implemented communication, political advocacy and education projects. 


Alejandra and the ClimaLab team


A message to the global corporate sector


Leading an organisation like this has been a challenge but also a responsibility that has allowed me to understand that leadership is built from concrete and measurable results that show a real impact on different populations involved in our projects. It is for this reason that I call on the global corporate sector to further commit to effective measures that mitigate climate change.


The world and the most vulnerable communities require concrete solutions that the private sector can offer since it has the power, finances and tools to deliver. It must increase its ambition and align with governments to achieve bigger and better results. All sectors must be aligned. 


The private sector must act and prepare to transition to a more sustainable corporate model. Promises are not enough and resilience is a need. 


Communities that have lived in certain regions for generations are now forced to leave their homes due to droughts, rising sea levels, frequent flooding, and other extreme weather events. Mining and coal industries are contaminating ecosystems, creating more uncertainty and vulnerability for the poorest.


The slow action and inactivity of some parts of the business sector continue to threaten communities’ survival and slow the path to resilience. The most vulnerable countries to climate change, mostly in the global south, must prepare economically and politically to cope with losses and damages. This means transitioning to more accurate, effective adaptation policies and technological solutions from both governments and the business sector is very important.


A call to action 


The corporate sector must promptly address the climate crisis by implementing comprehensive and transformative measures across its operations and value chains. 


Key areas of focus include: 


  • prioritising social impact 


  • transitioning to renewable energy


  • innovating lower-carbon manufacturing methods 


  • promoting sustainable and technological solutions, among others. 


Here’s how businesses can enhance their sustainability transformation measures:


Integrating climate perspectives for effective social impact


Considering the climate impact, it is essential for every corporation serious about achieving social impact and preventing climate risks to build sustainability for their users, clients and communities. Investing in effective climate and social projects that amplify the voices of marginalised populations, such as Indigenous peoples and LGBTQIA+ commnuities, will achieve solutions that work for your business, and its beneficiaries to continue growing in the right direction. 


Just energy transition is not enough


Businesses must commit to a just energy transition that not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also ensures that the shift to renewable energy sources is equitable. This involves investing in renewable power across their entire value chains and supporting policies and initiatives that promote sustainable energy access for all communities.


Innovate for a sustainable manufacturing and value chain


The manufacturing sector must innovate to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by developing and implementing lower-carbon methods. This includes improving energy efficiency, utilising renewable energy sources, and adopting technologies that reduce carbon emissions in production processes. 


To ensure long-term business success, they must transform their value chains to be more sustainable, from sourcing raw materials responsibly to minimising the environmental impact of end-of-life product disposal. Additionally, corporate strategies should focus on eliminating single-use plastics and significantly reducing overall plastic use by adopting alternative materials, improving product design, and enhancing recycling and circular economy initiatives. We must protect our ecosystems!


Zero deforestation


Businesses must commit to zero deforestation policies, ensuring that their supply chains do not contribute to the destruction of forests. This includes sourcing materials responsibly, supporting reforestation projects, and respecting deforestation regulations.


Building strong networks and partnerships for climate action


Collaboration is key in addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change. Businesses should build strong networks and partnerships with governments at the national and local levels, NGOs, and local communities. These alliances can leverage resources, knowledge, and expertise to develop comprehensive strategies that enhance community resilience and sustainability. By working together, these entities can create more impactful and scalable solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change.


By taking these comprehensive actions, the business industry can play a pivotal role in mitigating the impacts of the climate crisis and moving towards a more sustainable and equitable future.


Learn more about Alejandra’s work and her organisation ClimaLab.

Published on 12/06/2024