At the risk of wading into turbulent waters, we cannot ignore this week's leak from the US Supreme Court of their vote to overturn Roe Vs. Wade guaranteeing American women the right to abortion services. If this ruling is overturned, women in as many as 28 states would lose their right to an abortion, reversing nearly 50 years of legal precedent.
This is relevant to readers of this newsletter because US-based companies now must struggle with how to respond when many in their workforce will be affected by this anticipated decision. Colleague Laura Gitman of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) authored an excellent article on six actions companies can take to mitigate harm and meet expectations from their workers, consumers and investors.
While the country is in upheaval over restrictions of rights supported by the majority of Americans, US businesses - especially those who provide employee healthcare - are contending with how to respond. One way to ensure that all workers have full benefits for their reproductive needs is to fund travel out-of-state for banned procedures if need be. Companies like Levi Strauss & Co., Amazon, and my own employer - Persefoni, have already enacted this policy.
After investing millions in providing a diverse and inclusive workplace for all employees, US companies now have to grapple with one of the most divisive issues of our time.
Hot off the press
Heat and humidity are ‘testing the limits of human survivability' in South Asia. This is not a headline from the year 2050 - this is happening now. The prolonged heatwave currently gripping Pakistan and India serves as a reminder that the climate crisis is not a faraway issue – it’s here now and it’s threatening the lives of millions.
The heatwave has pushed temperatures to 121°F / 49.5°C in some areas— just a single degree away from the temperature at which the human body starts to cook. While such heat waves may be expected in the summer, this year’s soaring temperatures began early, with average maximum temperatures in March and April being the highest ever recorded in 122 years of keeping track.
This heat event, having already killed dozens, also brought knock-on effects like water shortages, loss of food crops, lost working hours, increased power outages, and forest fires - compounding the misery of more than one billion people affected. The heat is likely to destroy 10-15% of India’s wheat crop, worsening fears of global food shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The unprecedented 7,800 forest fires reported in just three days, including a landfill that spontaneously combusted - are engulfing India’s capital in acrid smoke.
While access to A/C and electric fans is limited to the top earners in Indian society, this heatwave still pushed energy usage to record highs. And, with the high energy demand causing blackouts, India continues to increase their use of coal, creating a vicious cycle of higher temperatures necessitating more electricity and coal use, making temperatures even warmer.
This heatwave is a warning of things to come. As Suruchi Bhadwal of the Energy and Resources Institute said, “each country needs to realize that the warning signs will not be given to us forever." The good news is some regions are taking heed of these warnings.
100+ EU Cities Commit to Climate Neutrality by 2030
Because urban areas consume more than 65% of the world’s energy and account for over 70% of carbon emissions, the EU has launched a new mission for 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Scheme (The Cities Mission). The EU selected 100 cities from member states and added 12 more from adjacent countries including the UK, Turkey, and Israel. With €360 million from Horizon Europe, this program is off to a fast start. While the clean city plans are not legally binding, Matthew Baldwin, the Deputy Director in charge of The Cities Mission, told Politico that their reputations are at stake and provided a website for the public to track progress.
Missed our latest edition of ESG & Climate News? Check it out now and stay in the know: April 29, 2022.
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Persefoni is the leading Climate Management & Accounting Platform (CMAP). The company’s Software-as-a-Service solutions enable enterprises and financial institutions to meet stakeholder and regulatory climate disclosure requirements with the highest degrees of trust, transparency, and ease. As the ERP of Carbon, the Persefoni platform provides users a single source of carbon truth across their organization, enabling them to manage their carbon transactions and inventory with the same rigor and confidence as their financial transactions.