The global climate change movement has been mapped for the first time in a ground-breaking Said Business School report, which calls for greater coordination of eco-action.
The report, Decisive Decade: Organising Climate Action, led by Marya Besharov, Professor of Organisations and Impact, and Rajiv Joshi, Executive in Residence, sets out the entire international green ecosystem and insists organisations, businesses and governments need to work together to beat climate change.
Building on the successful climate change talks that led to the Paris Agreement in 2015, Christiania Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016 and important figure in the Paris discussions, convened Mission 2020 to help ensure the agreement would be fully implemented. This new report is a key part of that process.
As lead author Marya Besharov explains, the report adopts an “organisational perspective” that complements climate science and public policy approaches. Based on a comprehensive analysis of business, philanthropic, civil society and government organisations involved in climate change action, it goes beyond slogans and statements to identify core activities and relationships among different groups and, vitally, how these can be improved.
It identifies seven critical roles that climate action organisations fulfil, which together form what the report calls the Decisive Seven: Shakers, Analysts, Playmakers, Weavers, Frameworkers, Pioneers and First Aiders. Differences in the goals and strategies each role pursues can impede collaborative effort, the report finds, contributing to uneven involvement in climate change action across sectors and limiting coordination with groups working on related issues of health, sustainable development, human rights, gender rights and economic justice. Compounding these challenges, philanthropic funding tends to privilege organisations in the Global North, limiting diversity of participation.
But the Decisive Seven roles also hold the key to addressing the climate crisis, the report finds. This is because collectively they accomplish three core activities – highlighting, orchestrating and operationalising – that are essential for deep, systemic change. Highlighting involves creating awareness and providing scientific evidence of the challenge, orchestrating entails convening different actors and allocating resources to address the issue, whilst operationalising consists of developing and implementing solutions.
In order to unlock the potential of the ‘Decisive Seven’ the report argues, new strategies are needed to harmonise their distinct yet complementary approaches. The report offers three key recommendations:
- Develop a shared narrative that captures the imagination of everyday citizens and powerfully conveys how social and economic systems can be transformed for the better.
- Build trust and create opportunities for joint action across sectors, regions and communities with different stakes and interests in the climate crisis.
- Strengthen accountability by creating common reporting frameworks and clear targets for corporations to meet net zero commitments and ensuring those most responsible for environmental damage are responsive to those most affected by it.
“More and more people are recognising that they, and their organisations, need to be involved in addressing climate change. This report helps them to understand how they can best contribute – what roles they can play and how to amplify their collective impact,” says Besharov.