3 Key Insights for Marketers from the UN’s Climate Change Conference

By Lauren Kiel

At this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP27), held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, business took a seat at the table more than ever. Last year's COP26 in Glasgow was a breakthrough for private sector participation; the business community came in force to share sustainability commitments and collaborate on advancing a greener future.

This year, the responsibility of business to help shape solutions was an accepted fact — and an increasing expectation, as companies around the world both respond to societal demand for climate action and prepare for how a changing planet will impact their own future.

Yet the nuances of what took place this year may not have reached as wide an audience, with geopolitics dominating global headlines and a location that presented difficult logistics for prospective attendees.

To help brands accelerate their strategies at a critical moment for climate progress, we're sharing key learnings from Sharm El-Sheikh, where Bloomberg took a leading role on the ground, with Bloomberg Green once again hosting a multi-day event for leaders in business, finance. nonprofits and policy as well as covering COP comprehensively across media platforms.

Key takeaways include:

  • Looking at interconnected systems can point the way to where investments and innovations are needed. The global, interconnected impact of climate change took center stage at COP27, with a historic agreement on loss and damage addressing the financial responsibility of the developed world to countries already experiencing climate harm. The numbers have staggering implications for business: European Climate Foundation CEO Laurence Tubiana, onstage at the Bloomberg Green event, told Bloomberg News East Africa Bureau Chief David Malingha that climate impacts have already cost the world an estimated $200 trillion over the last decade.

    But it's not just climate disruption that has the power to change operations from the supply chain to product strategy to brand reputation. Innovative solutions do as well. Marketers can stay ahead of both by elevating strategies that activate against a global ecosystem of customers, partners, and employees.

  • It's more important than ever for companies to play a leading role. As the world addresses sustainability challenges on a concerted, universal scale, systems will transform — and the private sector is unique in its ability to understand what's happening on the ground where business is being done. Governments need to negotiate with each other, but large companies have influence everywhere, because they operate everywhere. For example, Ezgi Barcenas, chief sustainability officer for Anheuser-Busch InBev, speaking at a session on sustainability data during the Bloomberg Green Summit, shared that about 85 percent of their emissions occur outside their "four walls." That means they need to bring partners along with them across the more than 100 countries where they operate.

    We see in our data and reporting that this naturally leads to the perception that companies have a responsibility to play a meaningful role in global climate action, from gen Z to the C-suite. Companies that make tangible commitments in line with brand values, with transparency and accountability, will build trust and influence.

  • COP28 will be a key opportunity for businesses to showcase their initiatives. Next year's COP will be hosted in the United Arab Emirates, and UAE is planning for this to be a huge moment; all indications are that they will lean into business and finance in a big way. Bloomberg Green reported that the UAE will soon launch its first carbon credit exchange, highlighting a rapidly growing way for companies to offset their emissions.

COP28 will be a key stage for brands to demonstrate leadership. Planning early for how your brand will show up physically and visibly in a credible way will deliver benefits to both the business and the world.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Lauren Kiel is the general manager at Bloomberg Green.