Energy Transition Handbook 2021 - Flipbook - Page 10
Paris agreement and UN sustainable
A changing landscape: new law, soft law and business integrity
Consumer and investor focus on climate change and corporate responsibility is
prompting significant market responses to social and environmental challenges.
These corporate responses are also increasingly required by a new collection of hard
and soft laws which drive integrity and require responsible business practices.
Adopted in December 2015, the Paris Agreement
sets out a legally binding global framework to
avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global
warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts
to limit it to 1.5°C. It aims to strengthen countries’
ability to deal with the various impacts of climate
change and support them in their efforts. This
global agreement has accelerated the energy
transition due to changes in national climate
policy, corporate commitments to the Paris goals,
investor recognition of climate risk and consumer
demand for environmentally responsible business.
Other new legal frameworks, such as the European
Green Deal, will further accelerate the transition
to net zero.
The United Nations Sustainable Development
Goals (the “UN SDGs”) are a driving force for
climate action. This set of 17 goals provides a
shared global blueprint for prosperity and peace
for people and the planet, now and into the
future. The goals were created by businesses,
governments, NGOs and civil society and were
adopted by all UN Member States in 2015.
The UN SDGs act as an urgent call to action to
work in partnership to tackle some of the world’s
most pressing issues. The 17 goals, with a series
of underlying specific targets, must be achieved
The UN SDGs have particular importance for
another reason – they have global buy-in and a
great visual brand. The UN SDGs have become the
dominant soft law in the market that corporates
seek to align with. Reporting on sustainability
and bench-marking efforts against globally
recognised standards and laws is critical in an era
where company reputation is ever-increasingly
tied to its commitment to delivering social and
environmental value; this goes beyond what is
legal and looks at what is right.