Through the Climate Scenario Looking Glass

27 May 2021

Want to know the pivotal turning point in our #MissionZero journey? Our Group Head of Sustainability Cate Harris shares how climate scenarios not only helped test the resilience of our company under different climate change futures, but focused our efforts around a shared vision.

Eighteen months ago today, we began talking to our people around the world about our company’s collective response to the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (#TCFD) recommendations. 

This included a series of workshops, conversations with senior leaders and engagement with our Board. The end result? Decisions that would change the direction of our company forever. We were bold, we were ambitious, and we knew the importance of the decisions we were making. Looking back, this period was a pivotal turning point in our #MissionZero journey.

The most powerful elements that came out of those days were that we envisaged our organisation moving beyond incrementalism, to confront climate change complexities head-on. 

But there were challenges. Climate change means different things to different people, and in some cases it’s seen as a ‘moving target’ encompassing so much but yet so far into the future. To focus our collaborative efforts we required a shared vision. 

Scenario planning methodology allowed us to move forward without a firm agreement or alignment on any one, single, climate change outcome that ultimately #MissionZero is combating. This provided us the ability to explore business risks and opportunities through the lens of multiple, plausible, scenarios, which were grounded with data proof-points and physical and transitional risk considerations. We could tailor the scenarios, to our business and its unique sphere of activity and influence, without getting hung-up on one specific aspect of the damage climate change does to our world and how we live in it.

Part of the process of ensuring our climate related scenarios were fully understood and really hit home, was by bringing each one to life visually through video.

The power of this immersive experience saw our leaders transport themselves to those possible futures. They could imagine themselves there and could unpack the risks and outcomes. The videos made it feel real and personal.

The impact of the realisation of climate change is different for everyone and hard to measure. For us in those workshops we could see the wide eyes of our peers, pondering the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘whens’. Ideas written frantically on thousands of post-it notes stuck all over the walls were one measure of the successful impact the videos had. Hearing countless stories of those same leaders sharing the videos, not only with their teams, but with friends and family members, was another. They wanted others to have the same transformational experience they had had.

The rate of climate change is unsustainable.

The built environment contributes about 40 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is significant. This means our industry has a unique responsibility and opportunity to act. We must lead the change.

Given what’s at stake, it’s no longer enough to make ‘ambitious commitments’ or hollow promises without backing them up with real, tangible actions and outcomes. And it’s not enough that Lendlease achieves our targets on our own.

Industry collaboration is critical for our sector to meaningfully reduce its carbon footprint, which is why, I’m sharing one of our climate-related scenario videos with all of you. 

It is the video for our Paris Alignment Scenario, which sees a market led transition to a lower carbon future through global government commitments to the Paris Agreement.  Hopefully the video provides some ideas and inspiration for how you too can bring #ClimateChange and/or your #TCFD scenarios to life for your key stakeholders, whoever they may be...work, school or home. 

For the full narrative and data that form our Paris Alignment Scenario and our other three scenarios, Resignation, Polarisation and Transformation, check out our website.  

Let’s bring as many people on this journey as we can. The climate crisis it’s our biggest challenge. Our target is less, not more. #MissionZero.