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COP26 insights: Ambitions, Reality and Impact

October 26, 2021 | Insights,

The COP26 insights are divided into three key themes:

  • The ambitions of COP26.
  • The reality of where we are now and what can be achieved.
  • The impact of climate change on people, communities, and businesses and the need to change.


We have an opportunity within the decisive decade to take significant strides towards a fairer and more sustainable world. A world in which we can see humanity thrive in harmony with nature. This is achievable if we all work together now as individuals, organisations and leaders. 

What is needed to achieve the sustainability targets set out at the Paris agreement is no easy task, which is why countries from across the globe are coming together for COP26. COP26 is the United Nations next annual climate change conference, standing for ‘Conference of the Parties’. Held in Glasgow between the 31st of October and the 12th of November, COP26 is an opportunity for the current leaders of our world to discuss their sustainability plans and ambitions. 

The Paris Agreement sets out an update cycle with which to improve Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) every five years. COP26 signals the end of the first five-year cycle, where countries are expected to update their NDCs. The idea is that countries will submit updated NDCs for 2025 and 2030, making this a critical COP for the next decade. Ultimately, their decisions will have an impact on the future of societies, economies and the welfare of humanity, which is why we will be following the event closely.

For the COP26 Video series, we have selected experts from across Anthesis to share their insights and expand our understanding of the importance of the event. 

Watch the recording of our COP26 Debrief Webinar


Within our Ambition video series, our experts share why we must be ambitious with our sustainability plans and targets, what is expected in order to reach Net Zero and how COP26 is an effective way to tackle our global problems by bringing together global solutions.


  1. How do we achieve Net Zero cost-effectively and equitably?
  2. What is the significance of COP26?
  3. What ambition is needed at COP26?


Key Quotes:

“The internationally agreed threshold of 1 and ½ degrees is perilously close, and the only way to prevent us exceeding that threshold is by urgently stepping up all of our efforts and pursing the most ambitious path possible.” – Paul Crewe, Executive Director and Chief Sustainability Officer at Anthesis.

“The UN climate change summits, or COP’s, are a really critical forum if we are to have any hope in combatting climate change.” – James Wallis, Director, Activator Strategy Team

“In terms of how we achieve Net Zero cost effectively and equitably, I think it’s really important that we find co-benefits wherever possible.” – Skye Lei, Principal Consultant


Within our Reality video series, our experts share the multiple benefits of a sustainable energy system, the uptake in companies taking action and setting targets, and the importance of a circular economy in reaching Net Zero.


  1. How are companies responding to the evolving climate science?
  2. How can the circular economy help organisations to achieve their goals?
  3. What transformation is needed to achieve Net Zero?


Key Quotes:

“With a sustainable energy system, we will all be winners.” – Agneta Persson, Managing Director

“In good news, the uptake of setting science-based targets, and even setting Net Zero commitments, is gaining momentum… Companies are looking at their supply chains, incentivizing their own suppliers to set targets, or otherwise trying to understand opportunities to mitigate their impacts.” – Manisha Paralikar, Associate Director

“We need to take action on material resources, the ‘stuff’ of life, if we are ever to achieve our Net Zero aims. We need to look at how much we use, how it’s made, what it’s made of, how we use it, and how we dispose of it. By changing the way we do business, much more can be achieved, and that’s where circular economy comes in.” – Susan Harris, Technical Director


Within our Impact video series, our experts share the effects of climate change, the benefits of climate action and the current impacts of climate change in society with reference to global food insecurity. By addressing these issues now, ahead of the climate crisis, we can positively impact our societies and economies and the welfare of humanity.


  1. How is climate change impacting the day-to-day lives of individuals and communities?
  2. How can climate actions positively impact communities?
  3. What is the impact of climate change on global food insecurity?



Key quotes:

“There are two billion people globally who lack vital micronutrients and around 800 million who face hunger on a daily basis.” – Simon Davis, Sustainable Agriculture Practice Lead.

“Climate action is often perceived as a burden or a limitation, and I think it’s time we change our perception of that. Overall, I think it’s important that we remember all of the co-benefits that come along if we take actions to fight and adapt to climate change, we make our cities more liveable and increase the quality of life for our communities.” – Corinna Peters, Technical Consultant

“We are definitely observing patterns of climate change in our backyard, it’s not happening at a distance, it’s happening here and it’s happening now.” – Brad Blundell, Managing Director