After months in 2019 of record-breaking wildfires, heatwaves and slow-moving tropical megastorms, 2020 might have been a year when the international community was ready to make serious strides in the fight against the Earth’s rising temperatures. Instead, we are facing a virulent coronavirus pandemic that has shut down most economic activity worldwide and sidelined the issue of climate change.
As we struggle to find our path back from COVID-19, companies and governments should not overlook the lessons the virus is teaching us about the need to get ahead of crises, according to Francois Austin, Partner and Global Head of Oliver Wyman’s Energy Group and Robert Bailey, Director of Climate Resilience at Marsh & McLennan Advantage, Insights. Oliver Wyman is an affiliate of Guy Carpenter.
The strategies being implemented today to offset the economic impact of months of lockdowns might also inform efforts to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions moving forward. As companies make calls about how, where and when to cut costs and where to invest post-COVID-19, they need to start using a green lens to make sure that decisions on such items as capital investment or asset retirement also reflect their future needs to reduce their carbon footprint.
An analysis by Oliver Wyman and CDP, a leading climate data provider, showed that a EUR 24 billion investment in low-carbon technologies and efficiency generated a net reduction in operational costs of EUR 41 billion for European companies. At this point, savings are something corporate executives everywhere desperately need to find, given projections of the many months — potentially years — it will take for the economy to bounce back after the virus subsides.