There are many benefits – and opportunities – for associations in becoming climate-wise. Some you may know, others will be a pleasant surprise.
We have listed some of the benefits of climate action, which will help association boards and leaders recognise the opportunities. Use them to inform your association’s business case for undertaking climate-wise initiatives.
You can tailor and adapt this list based on the risks and opportunities your members face.
Benefits of climate-wise action for your association
Associations can help members transition to efficient, low-carbon business models and professional practices. Doing so saves costs for members and opens up market opportunities in the short and long-term.
Reviewing operations for Scope 1 emissions – to reduce energy use, travel and paper use – further offers cost savings for members and associations.
Associations can use their collective expertise and knowledge to identify risks and develop strategies designed to mitigate the impacts. Experience with COVID in recent years has provided a taste of supply chain disruptions. The effects of natural disasters and weather extremes will disrupt organisations and businesses both at home and across the globe.
Forward planning and contingency strategies will mitigate the negative impacts for association operations and members’ activities.
Customers and investors seek out companies that have an improved climate change profile. By helping members adopt best climate change practices and enhance the resilience of their supply chains, associations position their members for future economic success.
Associations typically meet member expectations by creating value and helping the sector or profession succeed. Acting on climate change will help members remain successful and competitive as climate risks increase and society transitions into a low-carbon economy.
Positioning members for a carbon-constrained future and support them to take advantage of it will build members’ resilience – ultimately strengthening the association.
Transitioning to efficient, low-carbon business models and professional practices spurs member innovation, saves costs for members and opens up market opportunities in the short and long-term.
Associations can negotiate service and purchasing deals for members, such as special deal for members to access renewable power in a bulk purchase, or discount rates for energy-efficiency audits.
Preparing members for the shift to a low-carbon economy and the accelerating impacts of climate change strengthens your sector’s credibility and relevance in the eyes of members and the wider community.
Climate-wise associations build stronger relationships with customers, communities, governments, NGOs, suppliers and others, and enhance the sector’s social license to operate and grow.
Those in related sectors will appreciate opportunities to collaborate with climate-wise associations.
State and international counterparts may also provide opportunities to exchange research, guidance and resources for mutual benefit.
Climate action can increase associations’ value and relevance for current and prospective members. It can also reduce the risk that members will join different organisations who are better positioned to meet those needs.
Investors are mobilising to ensure companies do not participate in trade with organisations lobbying against climate change, while other high-profile companies are ending their memberships with associations not aligned with their climate policies.
Associations with climate change programs can get a head-start attracting top talent, especially younger people, who want to work in organisations where they can have the most impact.
Members who progress on climate action are better equipped to attract young, talented workers too.
Associations that collaboratively engage with government on policy and proactively adopt climate change best practices are able to drive government climate policy and regulations in their favour. When associations drive policy rather than wait for it, members will be able to plan and strategise more efficiently, avoiding uncertainty and devalued assets.
Acting ahead of regulation may even forestall it. The sooner members act on climate change, the more time they have to cement the practices and policies they may ultimately be required to adopt.
Governments are offering incentives, funding, and programs to organisations mitigating and adapting to climate change. Associations can leverage this financial support on behalf of members, and also stimulate the development of new funding programs through advocacy and leadership.
Associations that increase their climate action and expertise will be better positioned to contribute positively to regulatory initiatives by government and collaborate constructively with stakeholders.
Associations that promote and implement cutting-edge climate change practices, programs and solutions will be leaders (not laggards) in their sector or profession. This is an opportunity for associations to help members see themselves as part of the solution to climate change and position them to succeed in a low-carbon future.
“Climate change won’t mean the end of the planet or of humanity, but it will mean a very different planet which is likely to reduce the well-being of future generations of people.
The actions that we decide to take now to mitigate global warming will have a far-reaching impact. Therefore, it’s important that we consider these ethical questions and implications when considering potential solutions and take into account the long-term risks as well as the short-term gains.”
The sectors and professions that will most succeed in a warming, carbon-constrained world
are those that actively devise strategies to reduce risk and find low-carbon solutions.