Spanish businesses are truly making a name for themselves in the movement towards increasing sustainability and mitigating risks of climate change.

The UN recently stated that businesses can, indeed, be part of the climate solution “if they commit to eliminating carbon emissions from their operations and supply chains." This goal can be accomplished through a corporate commitment to the increasing use of renewable energy sources, buying carbon offsets, and strengthening resilience to new climate threats. In working towards these goals, companies must be specific and transparent in the establishment and implementation of their climate action plans. 

Spanish businesses have made great strides with many different measures of sustainability. According to Fran Leal of El Economista, 15 Spanish businesses appeared on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in September 2019, a measure of the 317 most sustainable global companies. Many of the same Spanish companies joined the UN’s ‘Business Ambition 1.5º’ project which aims to keep global averages temperature rise to under 1.5 degrees Celsius. According to Compromiso Empresarial, 7 Spanish companies were deemed list A by global climate non-profit CDP, a distinction that fewer than 2% of applicants received, and a recognition that the companies had “transparent and detailed disclosure of their climate data, complete knowledge about climate risks, a demonstration of strong governance and management of these risks.”

According to El Economista, 98% of major businesses claim that climate change is integrated into their business strategy. However, a few Spanish businesses are taking leadership roles in combating climate change as they have high levels of public engagement and been recognized by the Dow Jones, the UN, and CDP. 

What their CEO’s say

At the recent COP35 climate summit in Madrid, A. Medina reports what some leaders in the corporate responsibility space said about climate change. Acciona and CEO José Manuel Entrecanales pushed for regulation and subsidies that played to different kinds of tools and objectives because some respond better to a “carrot” while others respond better to a “stick.” Paul Polman UN Global Compact board member praised Entrecanales for climate leadership the permeates “the entire value chain of the company.”

Sustainable leader

What Large and Small Business Can Learn

As climate change becomes more relevant in environmental, social, political, and economic spheres, it is vital to understand it will shape the future of business. While it is important to understand how to react to government policies surrounding climate change, it is also necessary for businesses, even small ones, to take a proactive role in identifying and acting on influential sustainability matters. In 2019 525 global investors with trillions of USD in assets requested that potential targets disclose their climate plans before funding. This new focus that major investors have on climate means that a company’s emphasis on sustainability can make or break an investment for large and small businesses alike. 

Additionally, according to a recent survey by CDP, 85% of participating companies claimed to find opportunities concerning new products and services related to climate change. Further, according to El Economista, many agreed that, even if sustainability is not the most cost-effective option in the short term, “climate action is an investment in the medium and long term, with a return not only at the level of reputation but also economic.”

From this new wave of sustainability practices in major Spanish businesses, it is clear that corporate climate action is beneficial in many respects: Public relations, investment attractiveness, ability to form public-private partnerships, new opportunities for products and services, and long-term economic prospects.