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ASCM Insights

A Code Red for Humanity

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This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered a simple and urgent warning to the world: The Earth will reach the 1.5-degrees-of-warming threshold by the 2030s.

When we pass this critical point

  • hundreds of millions of people will struggle to find adequate water
  • several plant and animal species will go extinct
  • and coral reefs, a vital ecological resource, will suffer more frequent mass die-offs.

In addition, even if global warming plateaus at the 1.5-degree increase, there will be no sea ice atop the Arctic Ocean by 2050, raising the average sea level 6-10 feet. Further, the report reveals that heat waves previously only seen two times a century now happen once every 10 years. And if the Earth warms another single degree, they will occur more than twice as often. In addition, many regions will be more likely to be hit by multiple weather-related catastrophes at once, such as a heat wave plus a drought or wildfire.  

The IPCC report “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis” was authored by 234 scientists, based on more than 14,000 studies and approved by 195 governments. It offers the most comprehensive summary of climate change to date and lays out five potential global warming scenarios — each based on the different ways in which humanity might respond to the findings. The United Nations calls the report “a code red for humanity.”

This year alone, the world has experienced several catastrophic effects of climate change, including disastrous flooding, drought, deadly heat waves, famine and lack of clean drinking water. Scientists warn that this is just the beginning. “It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse,” says IPCC report coauthor Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.”

We must act now

The IPCC makes it crystal clear that human activity is to blame for all of this — with China, the United States, the European Union, India, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Iran and Canada being the 10 biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. But this also means people have the power to prevent further warming and escape imminent disasters.

ASCM enterprise standards are an established method for empowering organizations to reach sustainability goals through supply chain excellence. Using the ASCM enterprise framework, supply chain professionals can identify gaps and refine strategies in order to achieve crucial environmental objectives.

In addition, The Economist Intelligence Unit, with support from ASCM, developed a benchmark that assesses the prevalence of modern supply chain resilience-building capabilities. The Resilient Supply Chain Benchmark helps supply chain leaders address the growing frequency and intensity of climate-related supply chain disruptions, enabling them to take a wider view of what their industry peers are doing, assess their own sustainability competence and take meaningful action.

Lastly, tap into both the sustainability section of the ASCM digital library and the sustainability track at the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference for best-in-class education that points the way toward a better world through supply chain.

Now is the time for supply chains everywhere to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, remove large amounts of carbon from our environment and shift away from fossil fuels. Without a doubt, the situation is grim. But we have the tools to make a change.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer at ASCM, the largest nonprofit association for supply chain and the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation and innovation. Prior to this, he was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. His leadership roles have included project management, business process redesign, and individual and organizational alignment. Eshkenazi may be contacted through editorial@ascm.org.

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