COP26: The Two Most Important Weeks for Our Climate

The next two weeks are arguably the most important 14 days ever for the future of our climate. The United Nations (UN) COP26 meeting officially opened yesterday in Glasgow and representatives from nearly 200 nations are gathered at an historic moment to negotiate agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and actions to reduce the impacts of climate change.

COP stands for “Conference of the Parties” — the parties are the governments that have signed on to a United Nations climate change framework. COP brings these governments together once a year to discuss how to jointly address climate change. The conferences are attended by world leaders, ministers, and negotiators but also by representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), business, international organizations, and the media.

COP26 is different. It is considered a turning point in history. The parties will review progress on the Paris Agreement made at COP21 in 2015. The Paris Agreement is an international treaty signed by almost all countries in the world to keep the rise in the global average temperature under 2ºC and ideally to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels.

Unfortunately, progress overall has been slow. Most countries have not achieved their Paris targets. Add to this a dire report issued earlier this year that warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts, and flooding, as well as a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade. The report has been called a “code red for humanity.” The UN Secretary General has made it clear that there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. We can still avert climate catastrophe, but governments must make COP26 a success.

SAP has made their position on what governments need to do at COP26 clear: they need to agree on ambitious policies that will give business the mandate to drive innovation and action at scale.

Last week, SAP CEO Christian Klein outlined the importance of COP26 and the role business plays in chasing zero emissions and zero waste to achieve shared ambitions for a sustainable future. As a global multinational company with more than 100,000 employees worldwide, we are leading by example. SAP Chief Sustainability Officer Daniel Schmid outlines how the company is delivering its corporate pledge to be carbon-neutral by 2023 and help other companies drive end-to-end sustainable performance with technology as a critical enabler in making the net-zero economy a reality.

A detailed official COP26 agenda and schedule is available here. More than 30,000 people are expected to get involved in the meeting live and online. Government negotiations are the key activity at COP, but the event also features a range of activities for the public, including corporate and NGO exhibits, side events, high-level meetings, report launches, and exhibitions.

SAP is participating in a number of COP26 programs and activities both in Glasgow and virtually.

SAP is a corporate strategic sponsor of the Sustainable Innovation Forum and executives are participating in key sessions:

SAP and its sustainability experts are also participating in other various sessions and forums across COP26:

  • Unlocking the Promise of Sustainability in Asia-Pacific, a Fireside Chat with Anita Varshney and heads of Sustainability from SAP and Accenture
    November 3, 2021, 9:00 a.m. GMT (Register here)
  • A World Economic Forum Affiliated Session Achieving Shared Sustainability Goals
    November 3, 2021, 9:00-10:00 a.m. CET (Register here)
  • Panel on Scaling Up Innovative Digital Solutions for Climate Action, hosted by UNFCCC, European Commission, and GIZ, with Daniel Schmid
    November 4, 2021, 5:00 p.m. GMT (Livestream it here)
  • Digital Solutions to Environmental Problems: Use Cases, Policy Approaches, with Thijs Eiling and Vodafon and Nokia executives
    November 4, 2021, 4:00 p.m. CET (Register here)
  • Accenture Panel Discussion on Business and Nature with Daniel Schmid
    November 8, 2021, 9:30-11:00 a.m. GMT (Register here)
  • One Carbon World Workshop on Climate Science-Based Targets and What It Means for Your Organization with Marcus Wagner
    November 8, 9:30 a.m. GMT (Register here)
  • One Carbon World Workshop on How Your Business Can Save the Planet with Jonas Dennler
    November 8, 2021, 9:30-10:30 a.m. GMT (Register here)

COP26 is a critically important period when it comes to climate action. SAP will make several announcements over the period communicating the company’s commitment to sustainability.