Terrascope Climate Cafe with Dr Angel Hsu
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and you can’t manage well what you don’t measure well,” said Dr Angel Hsu, an internationally recognised expert in environmental sustainability, and founder and director of the Data-Driven EnviroLab. Joining Terrascope’s first ever Climate Cafe — a bimonthly fireside chat series led by Terrascope Head of Sustainability Lia Nicholson — Dr Hsu offered expert insights on the role of data in sustainability, climate action, green tech and ESG. Below are some key takeaways from the session.
Mitigating Climate Change is a Data Challenge
Companies are increasingly aware of the importance of data and measuring their impact on the environment. This shift is driven by pressure from regulators, investors, and consumers who prefer climate-conscious companies. However, the challenge is encouraging companies to value and use their data correctly. Developing detailed guidance is only part of the solution; there is also a need for a global regulatory environment that mandates emissions disclosure for both nations and companies.
Companies’ Net Zero Targets Continue to Lack Credibility
Although companies are interested in aligning their net zero targets with science-based goals, research reveals that even the largest enterprises are far from setting credible targets. These companies often lack transparency, especially among private investors, which hinders robust and lasting change in climate change management. This lack of transparency results in a credibility gap, as companies fail to accurately disclose their emissions data, carbon offsets, impact, and interim goals on the path to net zero.
Voluntary Climate Disclosures Aren’t Enough
The path forward across all sectors depends on a balance between policy and voluntary action from companies. If regulations require companies to disclose their Scope 1 emissions (direct emissions), this can inform Scope 3 measurement and help set credible net zero targets. Platforms like Terrascope are crucial for providing and modeling credible estimates of Scope 3 emissions based on the limited data available.
Strategies for Empowering Decision-Makers
A significant challenge in corporate climate action is bridging the gap between scientific research and its implementation. While many platforms and models can drive meaningful change, businesses and governments might not fully understand, be transparent about, or have mandates to implement those models. There is often a lack of internal capacity to leverage the data effectively. To address this issue, frameworks are needed to facilitate climate action through data and understand the requirements for cities and companies to implement scientific innovations realistically.
By focusing on reducing their direct emissions and pushing local governments and enterprises to measure and disclose emissions accurately, more substantial and meaningful action can be taken to mitigate climate change.