Play Your Part In Solving The Climate Change Crisis

In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Ahrenius first published a calculation showing that human co2 emissions would cause global warming. For many years, it has been seen as a distant threat. In the last few decades, this has changed – the here and now has never been so relevant. This summer, wildfires, floods, and heatwaves made it obvious that the effects of climate change are happening right now. So, is it too late for us to act? Or, as the hosts of the climate podcast “How to Save a Planet” asks their guests: “How screwed are we”? 

While humans have already caused irreversible changes to the climate, the scientific community seems to agree that we do have a window of opportunity to avoid the most catastrophic consequences, if we act now. To have any chance of keeping global warming at 1.5°C, which is what science tells us we need to do, the world needs to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Right now hundreds of world leaders are gathering in Glasgow for COP26, to review progress on the agreement made in Paris 2015 and to secure more ambitious national reduction promises and support to developing economies – hopefully keeping the 1.5°C target alive. 

What role can, and should, organizations like Spotify play in combating climate change? Well, a lot actually.

Companies have an extremely important role to play in keeping global warming below 1.5°C. Not only by cutting their own greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also in finding innovative ways of transforming our societies into zero emission ones. If contributing to solving a global crisis is not enough, there are also other, more short term, reasons to act on climate change as a company. To keep and attract talent, for example. 76% of Gen Zs say that addressing climate change is one of their biggest concerns, therefore to attract and retain Gen Z (and others), you need to be taking action on the things they care about. 

There are many different pathways to net zero emissions, but some key steps include: 

Set A Direction 

You need to know where you’re going. Setting a direction, a long term goal, enables you to direct resources and activate your organization. This gives your organization a guiding star for what to do, and equally as important, what not to do. Without it, you might find yourself with a lot of good initiatives and projects without a clear red thread, which will essentially dilute the impact. The goal should be grounded in science, meaning that you should aim for net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, and to halve your emissions by 2030. At Spotify, we have committed to reaching net-zero emissions within the coming decade. In stating this direction, we’re hoping to inspire other companies to set ambitious targets, making it an invitation to collaborate. 

Don’t Do It Alone

We really do need to collaborate. For Spotify, around 98% of our emissions come from activities outside of our direct operations, from areas where we don’t have full control. The same goes for most other digital companies, so we need (and want) to join forces with each other to find more innovative, efficient and inspiring ways to reduce negative climate impact. Normally, a first step would be to engage with your value chain, but don’t underestimate what you can learn from industry peers, companies in other sectors and organizations as well. 

As a part of our journey to net zero, we have joined the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, which is a network of selected innovative companies, scientists, and NGOs that commit to exponentially reducing GHG emissions. Organizations joining commit to halving their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and to reach net zero emissions before 2050. The Exponential Roadmap has developed the 1.5°C Business Playbook, a framework that outlines how businesses can align to a net-zero ambition and set a climate strategy to take them there. We find this framework to be very useful, particularly since it outlines how companies should reduce emissions and also how you can integrate climate in business strategies and influence climate action in society. 

Do What You’re Good At 

In setting up your company’s climate work, you need to think about what makes your company unique. It’s important when mapping out your emissions as it will not only help you to identify where to focus your reduction efforts but also to think about how to maximize your positive impact. What resources do you have that you can leverage to drive change in the climate area? With this mindset, you focus on actively becoming a part of the solution rather than staying part of the problem and using the resources and skills you already have instead of investing in new ones. 

For us, it comes down to our platform and our reach. With more than 380 million users, we have a role to play in raising awareness and driving action on climate change. For COP26, we’re trying out a few different ways of leveraging our platform to do this. 

Leading up to Earth Day earlier this year, we created a Climate Action Hub on our platform where listeners could find a curated set of podcasts on the climate topic. Now we’ve updated the hub with content spreading from COP26 reports to episodes on climate justice, and from scientist to climate activists to help listeners navigate, learn more and be inspired to take action. It includes a curated podcast playlist from the Climate Scientist, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, as well as Act Now (in the mobile hub), the UN campaign for climate action, and much, much more. 

Spotify has also set up a mini audio studio in the Blue Zone (with support from Think-Film), the official UN managed space of the COP26 venue, where we are hosting interviews and live streamed conversations in Spotify Greenroom, our new social audio app. Our ambition continues to be to make the conference more inclusive and provide listeners, especially younger ones, with the opportunity to add comments and questions as well as backstage access to COP26, even if they are not able to be there in person. 

Will you join us on this journey and what parts of your business can you leverage to help to solve the climate crisis? 

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