Although it has been clear for some years that human rights and climate change are inextricably linked, 2019 has emerged as a year of climate crisis, and companies are now asked to demonstrate that they have a holistic strategy for people and planet. In November 2019, the European Parliament followed national parliaments and local councils to declare a climate emergency, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated that the year 2019 concludes “a decade of exceptional global heat”, and leading scientists indicated that the world may already have crossed a series of climate tipping points and be headed toward “an existential threat to civilisation.”

A number of companies are taking steps to respond to the 2015 Paris Agreement seeking to limit the temperature rise this century to under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. They are making the connection between the Paris Agreement and competitive and thriving companies. They are combining their leverage, with a group of CEOs employing over 2 million people in the United States calling on the United States not to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Leading companies are also seeking to take rights-based climate action. Such companies are adopting a human rights lens to the climate crisis, seeking to consider those who are most vulnerable to impact as well as those who may be adversely impacted by the carbon-reducing solutions themselves.

In parallel, these companies are considering how to ensure that their human rights due diligence reflects the climate crisis. This entails incorporating longer-term climate-related human rights issues that may not previously have been viewed as salient. People and planet go hand in hand, and leading companies are increasingly seeking to break down internal silos to achieve this holistic vision.

Triponel Consulting is gathering insights across companies that are seeking to bring their human rights and social-related work together with their climate and environmental work.

Do get in touch if this is an area of interest to you, if you have insights you can share and/or if you would like to learn from others in this area.