Time and Sustainability: What are we missing and what do we need to do?

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The University of Oslo and CICERO Center for International Climate Research recently hosted a two-day conference on time and sustainability in light of the Sustainable Development Goals. The conference focused on timing actions in a way that minimises the risks, and maximises the opportunities, associated with climate change and environmental issues, and the role the Sustainable Development Goals can play in this. Global Leaders Fellow Lisa Benjamin presented a paper authored by herself and Dr Stelios Andreadakis.

Lisa spoke about how projections for climate change extend decades into the future, and usually to the end of this century due to the long-lived nature of GHGs. Predominant normative frameworks for corporate governance are primarily short-term in nature, creating a temporal dissonance within the context of corporate governance and climate change. New initiatives such as the task force on climate related disclosures (TCFD), the Enterprise Principles, and the Oxford-Martin Principles all advocate for directors to consider the risks from climate change, including using scenarios which take into account short, medium and long-term scenarios. It is by using a phased approach to climate risk that a smoothing of this temporal dissonance between corporate governance and climate change can be initiated by businesses.