In this joint ISEAS-WRI webinar, Ms Melinda Martinus, Mr Dedy Mahardika, Dr Nate Aden, and Mr Alberto Carrillo Pineda will discuss the role of the private sector as a wing of support to governments in fostering more ambitious climate actions through the Science Based Targets initiative.
CLIMATE CHANGE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA PROGRAMME WEBINAR
ASEAN Implementation of Science-Based Targets
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 – The Climate Change in Southeast Asia Programme (CCSEAP) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia jointly organised the “Data and Ambition Loops in the Southeast Asian Region: Opportunities and Challenges” webinar on 25 August 2020.
The webinar was moderated by Ms Sharon Seah (Coordinator, ASEAN Studies Centre and CCSEAP, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute) and featured presentations by Ms Melinda Martinus (Lead Researcher in Socio-Cultural Affairs, ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute), Mr Dedy Mahardika (Climate Researcher, WRI Indonesia), Dr Nate Aden (Senior Associate, WRI), and Mr Alberto Carrillo Pineda (Director, Science Based Targets & Renewable Energy, CDP).
Ms Martinus began by outlining the current landscape of climate change and its impacts in Southeast Asia. Next, referencing results from the State of Southeast Asia Survey 2020 conducted by the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Ms Martinus informed that climate change has been identified as one of the region’s top security concerns, and that a majority of respondents recognised climate change as either a serious and immediate threat to the well-being of their countries or an important issue to be monitored. However, respondents belonging to the Business and Finance sector were least likely to acknowledge the gravity of climate change, highlighting the need for greater private sector engagement. Ms Martinus also shared that the prevailing view among most respondents was that government efforts to address climate change were insufficient.
Ms Martinus also discussed the various climate mitigation and adaptation actions touched on in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted by ASEAN member states and noted that mitigation actions primarily focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy adoption, and land use and forest management, while adaptation measures mainly focused on agriculture protection, disease protection, disaster risk management, and coastal protection.
Next, Mr Mahardika opened his presentation by stating the importance of public-private collaboration for countries to fulfil their Paris Agreement commitments. Greater climate action can be achieved when the information flow between governments and the private sector is improved through data loops, which refer to the relationship between governments and the private sector focused on enhancing data sharing. Data loops facilitate mandatory reporting arrangements, support voluntary corporate reporting, and enhance data sharing. Data loops can augment climate action especially when combined with ambition loops. Mr Mahardika defined ambition loops as how businesses address climate change to add confidence to governments and how new targets and legislation give companies greater confidence to invest in a zero-carbon future. For the combination of data and ambition loops to effectively create a win-win situation for both governments and the private sector, the right incentives and signals need to be in place and data has to be incorporated into a trustworthy and sustainable system and complemented by measures to ensure confidentiality of data, robust methodological standards, the streamlining and harmonisation of reporting, and clear legal architectures.
Though data and ambition loops have not yet been fully leveraged by national governments and corporations, particularly in Southeast Asia, Mr Mahardika shared that there are opportunities for greater collaboration in the region. For instance, carbon pricing schemes can be enhanced by measures to improve data quality and availability, and such ambitious carbon pricing policies, in turn, can provide the confidence and clarity needed by businesses to drive change. Mr Mahardika also noted the importance of government engagement in boosting the uptake of Science Based Targets (SBTs) among companies as well as how companies setting SBTs can encourage governments to enhance climate ambitions.
Dr Aden then gave an overview of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and explained how SBTs work for companies and financial institutions. SBTs are emission reduction targets set by companies that are consistent with the long-term goal of reaching net-zero emissions in the second half of this century. SBTs cover a timeframe of 5 to 15 years, which drives short-term action and increases corporate accountability. Dr Aden shared SBTi’s strategies and activities to support the private sector in their uptake of SBTs. He highlighted that 960 companies and financial institutions have formally joined the SBTi Call to Action, of which 430 have approved targets.
Next, Dr Aden discussed the 5 core criteria used by SBTi to assess targets set by companies, namely (i) boundary; (ii) commitment timeframe; (iii) level of ambition; (iv) Scope 3 emissions requirements; and (v) reporting. In the ASEAN region, there are currently 13 companies that have joined SBTi, of which 5 have approved targets. Dr Aden highlighted the broader opportunities for ASEAN climate action, including increasing credibility, nature-based solutions, harmonisation of programmes, global sector guidance, financial alignment, and policy integration.
Building on Dr Aden’s presentation, Mr Pineda emphasised the importance of companies setting SBTs in supplementing country climate commitments. Companies with SBTs have become the largest constituency of actors setting GHG emissions reduction targets with the ambition required to deliver Paris Agreement goals. He shared the benefits for companies in setting SBTs, including increased competitive advantage, innovation, brand reputation, and investor confidence. Mr Pineda described how ambition loops and other self-reinforcing mechanisms help to drive the implementation of SBTs and incentivise climate action, citing the example of the apparel and textile industry. Finally, Mr Pineda introduced the new and simplified pathway aimed at reducing barriers for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to join the SBTi.
More than 140 participants spanning the policy, business and research communities attended the webinar. The Q&A session touched on a wide range of related issues such as ensuring corporate compliance and accountability, the main barriers to the adoption of SBTs in Southeast Asia, how governments can encourage the adoption of SBTs, and sector-specific concerns regarding the setting of SBTs.
As a follow up to the webinar, a closed-door session on “Leveraging Science Based Targets to the Southeast Asian Companies” was held on 26 August 2020 that brought selected members of the private sector and governments in Southeast Asia together to discuss their experiences in setting SBTs as well as the opportunities and challenges of implementing SBTs in the region.