Whether an athlete trying to outperform their competitor on the pitch or a tech giant trying to create the latest mobile phone and dominate the market, competition and going it alone can drive innovation and success.
However, things are different when it comes to the environment and climate change.
As COP26 draws nearer, calls for an approach that focuses on working together for a common goal – keeping emissions low and developing plans to meet the challenges our planet will face in the years and decades to come – louder day by day.
There are always exceptions and getting people to find common ground is a big challenge, but this focus on collaboration is beginning to encompass politics, civil society and business.
Thierry Delaporte is the CEO of Wipro, which describes itself as an “information technology, consulting and business process services company”.
During a recent debate moderated by CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick, Delaporte stressed the need for multiple parties to work together. “The reality is that no single company can tackle the climate crisis on its own,” he said.
“To really have a big impact and really… bring real results to zero, we have to standardize [a] Net-zero approach to ensure progress is being made efficiently and effectively, “he continued.
Delaporte also spoke of the need for good government-business relationships.
“It needs to be much easier for companies of all sizes and in all sectors around the world … to move towards a net-zero future as well,” he said.
“The connection with … other companies, the ecosystem, communication and cooperation with the administrations in the respective countries is absolutely necessary for us in order to achieve … substantial results.”
During the discussion, Adair Turner, Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, emphasized the importance of the relationship between government and business.
“There’s this endless iterative process between the government setting the framework, setting carbon prices, for example, and setting rules that make it clear that the private sector needs to respond,” he said.
Turner went on to elaborate, stating that the private sector would then do what it does, which is cost cutting and innovation, to achieve these goals at the lowest possible cost.
“This is a never-ending process, but it needs to involve strong government and private sector action, including private sector funding – asset managers, banks, etc.
An example of a climate-related collaboration is the Science Based Targets Initiative or SBTi, a partnership between the World Wide Fund for Nature, the World Resources Institute, CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and the United Nations Global Compact.
Its CEO and Executive Director, Sanda Ojiambo, told CNBC how the SBTi uses the strengths of the four organizations.
Leading companies, she said, had “set emissions reduction targets in line with the latest SBTi climate science.”
At the beginning of the year, the SBTi published a progress report for 2020. Among other things, this dealt with the emission reductions of 338 companies, which they described as “approved science-based targets”.
“The 338 companies in our analysis combined their annual emissions reduced by 25% between 2015 and 2019 – a difference of 302 million tons, which corresponds to the annual emissions of 78 coal-fired power plants,” says the report.
For Ojiambo, it is a vital tool to get the message across and communicate progress.
“It was really important to show that progress was being made with science-based goals,” she said.
‘It is important for us to have a standard and it is important not only to increase ambition but also to ensure that actions are scientifically based and that we are able to track and measure this progress. “