Martin Fahey looks forward to the meeting of global leaders trying to tackle the climate crisis

So the world is watching as COP26 rolls into town and most of the world leaders – but not all, spend a fortnight in Glasgow debating what is to be done to tackle climate change.

COP26 is a vital milestone in deciding how the world mitigates the impact of climate change. It will see the public and private sectors come together to define real, global net zero.

One thing that is agreed by all is that something needs to be done and urgently, as we have less than a decade to implement changes to the way we treat our planet, otherwise global temperatures will rise higher than 1.5 degrees C and we face catastrophic consequences that we may not be able to fix.

The key to achieving global net zero lies in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why Mitsubishi Electric is committed to achieving our target of reducing CO2 emissions to Net Zero by 2050, as well as our Environment Sustainability Vision 2050 ‘to protect the air, land, and water with our hearts and technologies to sustain a better future for all’.

We promote active dialogue, collaboration, and co-creation that will result in living comfortably, in harmony with nature

Martin Fahey Martin Fahey Head of Sustainability

Manufacturers have an important role

Our activity at COP will be focused on two areas:

Firstly, we are a partner along with many other relevant companies with the UK Green Building Council and their Build Better Now Virtual Pavilion and series of events that you can view remotely by booking a place on the website.

This presence will enable us to highlight the vast array of solutions that we offer with a natural focus on our Ecodan heat pumps and their manufacture in Scotland, and the culmination of their efforts will be the Cities Regions and Built Environment focus day on 11 November.

With our long standing relationship with UK-GBC we are hopeful that partnering with them will amplify our presence in what is a packed agenda over the next two weeks.

Secondly, we are also involved with a day focused on decarbonisation of heat organised by Scottish Enterprise, as well as wider discussions with the Scottish Government as part of their Climate Ambition Zone events on 4th November, again you can book virtual places via the website.

We will have various speakers at the event and will be in attendance to network and meet other delegates and officials.

They are supportive of our activities in Scotland with regard to our manufacturing and Research and Development and our commitment to further work in this area as we develop new products that can rise to the challenges the country faces.

The good, the bad and the downright ugly

For me, there are good and bad points about COP26 and I’ve summarised them into three distinct categories: Governmental; business; and personal.

So I’d like to present my thoughts on what we are likely to see and the good and bad points for each category.

Governmental

Good COP – We need more joint action by governments around the world and COP26 presents a fantastic opportunity to focus attention on what needs to be done.  Let’s hope that the event leads to real, tangible commitments from all of our leaders – even the ones who haven’t made the trip.

Bad COP – the countries that aren’t here, particularly China and Russia. What will also be bad, is if the event descends into what Greta Thunberg calls “blah, blah, blah”, where the climate rhetoric is simply not matched by the action and we end the event with more ‘empty promises’ of action.

Business

Good COP – Business has realised that it has a major part to play in tackling climate change and companies really do seem to be making strides to play their part. That’s certainly why we at Mitsubishi Electric are taking part, because we realise that the Climate Crisis cannot be tackled in isolation.

Bad COP – However, there are many examples of industries and businesses still not quite grasping the nettle of what needs to be done. There are also major sectors such as oil and gas that still need significant help in transitioning to a greener economy.

Personal

Good COP – The attention of the world’s media cannot help but raise even more awareness amongst the general public, which can only be a good thing.

Bad COP – However, the lack of tangible targets and action by our leaders also threatens to make people think “what’s the point in me trying to do anything”

Our responsibility

At Mitsubishi Electric, we believe it is a corporate responsibility to conduct business in a way that contributes to creating new values, a sustainable society and that further supports other businesses that contribute to the environment.

Reducing emissions in the built environment will play a pivotal role in addressing climate change and through initiatives such as #BuildingtoCOP, we hope to see some real, actionable outcomes from COP26 in this area.

We have three environmental action guidelines in place to achieve our Environmental Sustainability Vision 2050:

ONE: Apply diverse technologies in wide-ranging business areas to solve environmental issues. We utilise diverse technologies throughout our business and across the entire value chain to help solve environmental issues including climate change and resource recycling.

TWO: Develop business innovations for future generations. We draw on internal and external strengths to resolve difficult issues and to take on the challenge of developing technologies and business innovations for future generations.

THREE: Publicise and share new values and lifestyles. We promote active dialogue, collaboration, and co-creation with all our stakeholders, publicising and sharing new values and lifestyles that will result in living comfortably, in harmony with nature.

Martin Fahey is Head of Sustainability