Gearing Up for COP24

I’m gearing up for the challenge of COP24.

I’m evaluating the things that will make travelling to another country more comfortable, such as noise cancelling headphones for the plane ride, European adapters for my cell phone, a good backpack for my laptop and, possibly, a battery backup. I’m also preparing to be as productive as possible at the conference itself. I am downloading apps, planning out meetings, and reading up on the ambitions of this COP.

Perhaps most importantly, I’m gearing up for the experience of being a part of COP24. I’m getting ready to listen, really listen, to the many stories about the human impacts of climate change so I can return to my team in Minnesota with more ideas and plans that will make positive impacts in our world.

To facilitate a more inclusive dialogue amongst participants, a new process has been incorporated into COP24. The Talanoa Dialogue, a tradition from Fiji and other Pacific Island nations, uses storytelling to build trust and understanding to then arrive at consensus and more inclusive decisions.

Key to the Talanoa Dialogue are answering three questions:

  • Where are we?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How do we get there?

These three questions together allow for an honest evaluation of progress made, ambition for the future, and a clear-eyed assessment of the challenges in achieving the ambition.

At Best Buy, one of our core employee values is Learning from Challenge and Change. This value has been called upon many times in our company’s history, and, similar to a Talanoa Dialogue, it has helped us address issues with clarity and make adjustments along the way toward a solution.

We have focused on carbon reduction since 2009, with a goal to reduce carbon emissions in our operations by 60% by 2020, and we are now at 51%.

We help our customers enrich their lives through technology and live more sustainably by selling products that help them save energy. Through the sale of ENERGY STAR® products, we’ve helped our customers save more than $700 million on their utility bills since 2009.

And yet, we have the ambition and a responsibility to do more.

We’ve now seen some of the impacts of climate change in the communities we serve. We have activated procedures during major weather events – from hurricanes and historic wildfires – to make sure our employees are all accounted for. We have closed stores due to storms, and afterward helped our local communities recover from the damage.

As an organization that is very focused on people, we now know that focusing on the environment is really about people.

We are committed to getting to carbon neutral in our operations by 2050, and we have submitted our intention for a Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) goal. This will include a new goal to help our customers reduce their carbon emission.

And while the path to achieving our ambitions is attainable, it is not altogether clear. At COP24, I hope to hear about what is possible, about innovations that will help strengthen our actions, especially as a business, as we fight climate change. I will learn from other attendees — whether countries, companies, or civil society — about what solutions are working and which are ready to be scaled.

I’m looking forward to being a part of the business community at COP24 that expresses our support for collective action against climate change.

Climate change is the challenge in front of all of us, and we are gearing up for it.

 

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