top of page

A worrying alignment – “Code Red” confirmed by scientists

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

In Hong Kong, the colour red is usually considered lucky. Not this time. When scientists recently issued a “Code Red” warning for humanity on a global scale, the world’s media took notice. But what can businesses do to protect themselves and manage this red-hot risk?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – a body of the United Nations that assesses the science related to climate change – recently released its Sixth Assessment Report which "addresses the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence."

And the news is dire. The UN Chief said the report "is a code red for humanity."

We at Red Links have recognised this for some time. This is exactly the call to action that we have employed in our own wee corner of the sustainability universe.

Yet now, proving once again that there is no such thing as an original idea, this is the term also used to paraphrase the world’s most eminent climate scientists to ring alarm bells for the future of the planet.

How we wish it were not so… but we believe there is much we can do and need to do… and fast.

So prompted with conviction that we can take action and make a difference, we reflected: if more believe we really are at Code Red, what is our response today?

We’ve pulled together ideas from some of the team…

“Revisit your risk register. The world is profoundly changing, which poses risks and opportunities to create financial and non-financial value. Don’t hang your hat on an old risk assessment. Review it now and regularly. Ensure your governance practices incorporate such steps as a matter of course, as well as following through to amend or make plans based on that refreshed thinking and analysis,” recommends Fiona.

Anne believes we need to convince people to only invest in the technologies and the businesses that are part of the solution, and to work for companies that are purpose-led to be climate positive and contribute to a circular economy. She suggests: “An immediate priority is to be mapping the opportunities, from proactively addressing climate risk for your business or investment firm, so that you can move the needle and effect real change. Set an example, inspire your colleagues to act, and set targets and KPIs that link rewards to progress.”

Amie’s top pick is: “Although the path to net zero carbon can be complex and uncertain, this is not a reason to delay action. It is now critical that the real estate industry in particular understands its important role and collaborates to help solve this challenge. Starting by developing and publishing Net Zero Carbon pathways and targets is imperative. This helps to create transparency and can allow progress to be monitored. Concurrently, a complementary strategy for climate adaptation of assets is critical, with climate change already being locked in now, and becoming more extreme over the coming years.”

Theodora advises: “Make money while making a real difference to our world is the new industry mantra. In the investment ecosystem, asset owners and managers need to align on what total returns they are seeking, how they measure such returns, over what time horizon and, importantly, what impact they expect to achieve. The new generation of investors and increasingly private capital portfolios expect nothing less. Performance beyond traditional financial ROI is having a knock-on in many ways, from target setting, reporting, engagement with stakeholders and more. All the actors need to be aligned – from definitions of terms to understanding priorities.”

If the Red Links Sustainability Consortium can help with these areas and your reaction to this Code Red, then please get in touch. To learn more about the Red Links Sustainability Consortium, click here.

External links are included for readers’ convenience. The inclusion of these sources is neither an endorsement of that provider nor intended to provide readers with any assurance as to the completeness or accuracy of the particular article linked. This content is for general information purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisors.


bottom of page