Celebrated annually on June 8, Oceans Day was declared by the United Nations (UN) at the Earth Summit in 1992. In 2008, the date was raised to a worldwide commemoration, and the concern for the oceans and for the future of the planet gained new debates and mobilizations around the globe.

The oceans are considered the “true lungs of the world”, responsible for half of the oxygen (O2) that all species – marine or not – breathe. Even those who live far from the sea are influenced by it, whether by regulating the climate, maintaining biodiversity, providing food or ensuring their own breathing.

In 2021, World Oceans Day had as its theme “The ocean: life and livelihoods”. On the occasion, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, went public with an emphatic appeal for humanity to become even more aware of the importance of the oceans and end what he calls the “war against nature”. In his message, Guterres warned of the consequences of maritime devastation and recalled that, today, more than three billion people around the world survive through the oceans.

The secretary general also highlighted the economic, cultural and social role of the oceans, which could be compromised if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to run rampant. “Carbon emissions are causing oceans to warm and acidify, destroying biodiversity and causing sea level rise, which threatens densely populated coasts,” notes Guterres.

According to 2019 scientific climate studies, the oceans are warming 40% faster than estimated in 2014 by the UN. The math is simple: the more GHG emissions, the more they retain atmospheric heat. As a result, the chances of serious complications for the oceans and life on Earth also increase, due to the melting of polar ice caps, rising sea levels, more severe and recurrent weather events, the destruction of ecosystems and food chains, among others.

Established earlier this year, the “Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)” is yet another UN call for signatory countries to the Organization to continue their efforts in favor of the oceans. The decade will provide a unique opportunity for nations to work together to develop the global ocean science needed to support the sustainable development of the ocean we share. Mitigating climate change in the long term and acting globally is considered one of the most imperative ways to contain the advance of global warming and, as a result, protect the oceans and life as a whole.

Aligning with goals such as those proposed by the Paris Agreement and the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC are some of the actions that companies, governments and society can take to combat irreversible damage to the oceans. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 14 (life below water) also works specifically on the conservation and responsible use of ocean resources.

As they play a fundamental role in sustaining life on Earth, the preservation of the oceans is urgent! By encouraging the reduction of GHG emissions based on climate science, movements such as Impacto NetZero contribute to this conservation.

Check out some fun facts about the oceans.

Lungs of the world

According to the Climate and Ocean GT, from the Observatory of Climate, the oceans release to the atmosphere more than half of the oxygen that living beings breathe. In addition, they capture ⅓ of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by humanity, which is used for marine plants’ respiration and returned as O2 to the atmosphere. This process regulates the biogeochemical cycles and the Earth's average temperature.

Planet Water

Ocean water represents more than 90% of the total water volume on the Earth's surface, according to information from the Discovery Channel. It also means that most aquatic species on the planet are found in them. Still, an estimated 95% of the planet's oceans remain unexplored to this day.

Conservation units

Maritime Conservation Units (CUs) are large oceanic areas legally managed to protect natural resources and aquatic biodiversity. In Brazil, as GT Clima e Oceano explains, there are two categories of UCs: “full protection (for the protection of Nature) or for sustainable use (for the sustainable exploitation of renewable resources)”. It is the UCs that assure, for example, more responsible fishing and the defense of communities that depend on the oceans.

Floating laboratory

According to CNN, the construction of a floating laboratory financed by the French government to study the concentration of carbon in the ocean should be completed in 2024. The Polar Pod vessel will research the impact of GHGs and climate change in the Atlantic Ocean, with a focus on the Antarctic Sea.

To find out more about the universe of the oceans, check out seven documentaries available online.

According to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, the world must halve its CO2 emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by mid-century.

What is the Climate Ambition Accelerator?

The Climate Ambition Accelerator is a six-month acceleration program that aims to challenge and support UN Global Compact member companies to set ambitious climate goals, in line with climate science, and to integrate into Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action) and Paris Agreement objectives in their business strategies.

It is an opportunity for companies to become a reference within the national and international climate agenda, strengthening their commitment to socially and environmentally responsible performance, fostering innovation, increasing resilience, market value and long-term sustainability.

What benefits does Ambition Net Zero provide?

Through Global Compact Local Networks around the world, participating companies will have access to global best practices, group learning opportunities, training sessions and on-demand training. Participants will learn:

How does the journey work?

The Climate Ambition Accelerator program lasts for six months and is exclusive to member companies of the Global Compact. In the case of Brazil, companies that are part of the Global Compact Network Brazil.

It was developed for companies looking to make progress in setting emissions targets based on climate science and who want to build a clear path to address the transition towards zero net greenhouse gas emissions (Net Zero).

During this “climate journey”, the company will be equipped with the knowledge and skills it needs to develop concrete plans to accelerate the strengthening of its climate agenda.

Are companies committing to the goal of reducing net emissions to zero (Net Zero)?

Acknowledging the importance of keeping global warming at 1.5°C, companies are increasingly committed to adopting zero net emissions climate targets. Between July 2019 and June 2020, more than 230 companies committed to achieving zero net emissions as part of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, an urgent call for companies to set emissions reduction targets in line with 1.5°C . The campaign is led by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and supported by a global coalition of leaders from the United Nations, business organizations and NGOs.

Why do companies need to reduce their emissions?

Companies must commit to reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement, a global treaty created with the objective of reducing global warming. And to achieve this goal, it is necessary to set goals based on science.

But why is it important to have science-based reduction targets?

The adoption of science-based goals ensures the implementation of actions in the short term. Although the Net Zero targets are set for 2050, climate action needs to start today. And we need integrity and credibility to achieve this commitment, which is provided by the SBTi, an initiative created and implemented by four partner organizations – CDP, United Nations Global Compact, WRI and WWF – that act collectively and globally.

The targets adopted by companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are considered "science-based" if they are in accordance with what the most current climate science indicates as necessary for the Paris Agreement goals to be achieved: limit global warming to well below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels, making every possible effort to limit this global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

How can a company start working on its targets?

The first step to work on GHG reduction goals is to internalize knowledge. And the best way to do that is to be part of the Climate Ambition Accelerator program. During this “climate journey”, the company will be equipped with the knowledge and skills it needs to develop concrete plans to accelerate the strengthening of its climate agenda.

The program's format allows organizations access to high-level content, global benchmarks and contact with companies with international visibility, while connecting to local challenges and potential.

Who can participate?

To participate in the Climate Ambition Accelerator program, the company must meet the following criteria:

General structure

Companies participating in the Climate Ambition Accelerator program will work on the following fronts:

The contents are divided into three modules:

A local initiative with global insight

The Climate Ambition Accelerator program is carried out in 27 countries and is part of the Global Impact Initiatives of the United Nations Global Compact.

Nationally named Ambition Net Zero and implemented by the Global Compact Network Brazil, it was developed in a format that allows organizations access to high-level content, global benchmarks and contact with internationally visible companies, while connecting to challenges and local potential.

Doubts? Visit the program's website for more information.

First used in 2005 in the UN Global Compact's “Who Cares Wins: Connecting Financial Markets to a Changing World” report, the acronym ESG has spread widely in the national and international investment market. Today, the term is already used as a checkmark for business. Shareholders and investors are gradually prioritizing companies that adopt more sustainable principles in relation to the environment, society and corporate administration.

ESG stands for Environmental (E), Social (S) and Corporate Governance (G). In general terms, the term ESG refers to an analysis metric that assesses the practices of the business sector beyond economic and financial matters, with a deeper look at socio-environmental and organizational agendas.

It is precisely the combination of these factors that indicates which companies are more engaged with the new global sustainability demands and, as a result, are more likely to result in good business and positively impact the planet. “The ESG modality adds to traditional investments the interest in mitigating environmental, social and governance risks caused by the investee's performance with the expectation of greater financial return and value addition”, explains the Institute of Corporate Citizenship (ICE, in Portuguese).

Companies such as Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), one of the most recognized in the financial market, are dedicated to verifying the internal and external practices of companies related to ESG principles. Based on this analysis, MSCI ranks institutions as “Laggards”, still far from ESG practices, “Average” and “Leaders”, highly committed to the environment, society and governance, as shown in the XP Investimentos infographic:

After all, what are ESG practices?

A company approaches a “Leader” rating in ESG when it develops and introduces more sustainable, inclusive and equitable actions into its corporate practices. According to XP Investimentos, some of these practices are:

Environmental: reduction of net emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs); preservation of biodiversity; sustainable financing and responsible management of natural resources; investment in renewable energy; among others.

Social: fair and inviolable working conditions; individual and collective protection of employees; product safety and quality standards; investment in human capital; access to nutrition and health; among others.

Corporate Governance: ethics and transparency in business; audits and equity controls; corporate diversity from the board to the workforce; adoption of actions against corruption; among others.

Why adopt ESG practices?

ESG investments are already characterized as an important change for the business sector. Companies that are not dedicated to adapting their practices and adopting ESG principles in the coming years have great chances of “falling behind in business”. Check out other reasons to mobilize for the environment, society and corporate governance:

Strengthens the Net Zero movement

When companies mobilize to adopt ESG practices, especially focused on environmental and GHG emissions reduction matters, the result is a direct impact on maintaining the increase in global temperature below 1.5°C.

More revenue, less costs

Companies that adopt ESG practices are better prepared to meet the policies and requirements that are being practiced around the world. With more responsible businesses and more valued employees the business will increasingly attract more interest from investors.

Productivity and demand on the rise

It is not just the investment sector that has its eye on companies aligned with the ESG principles. More and more informed and demanding consumers have prefered products and services that adopt sustainable practices.

Solidity for investors

The Net Zero Asset Managers initiative already represents 1/3 of ESG investments worldwide. Currently with 87 signatories, including Brazilians, the group of managers is proof that the adoption of sustainable practices has great prominence in the business sector.

Find out how to be part of this revolution!

Klabin is the largest producer and exporter of paper for packaging and paper packaging in Brazil. With 122 years of history and 24 industrial units, 23 in Brazil and one in Argentina, in addition to a robust forestry base in the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and São Paulo, the company is recognized nationally and internationally for its management guided by sustainable development .

Klabin: sustainable advancements

Klabin maintains a historic commitment to sustainability and has been taking important steps towards combating climate change for years. In May of this year (2021), the company had its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). With this, it aligns with more than 1,400 companies around the globe in the commitment to reduce their emissions based on science. Operating in two scopes (1 - own emissions and 2 - emissions in purchased energy), the approved target establishes the reduction of GHG emissions per ton of cellulose, paper and packaging by 25% by 2025, and by 49% by 2035, with 2019 as the base year.

In 2019, Klabin was one of the first Brazilian companies to commit to the “Business Ambition for 1.5ºC - Our Only Future” campaign, led by agencies of the United Nations (UN) and by the SBTi. More recently, it joined the Race to Zero movement, further expanding its commitment to reduce and neutralize its GHG emissions, in order to effectively contribute to the mitigation of climate change.

Through numerous decarbonization initiatives in its production processes, the company has reduced its specific emissions (CO2 eq/t product) by 64% over the last 17 years. It should be noted that, due to its forest areas, which capture and store enough CO₂ to offset the emissions from its production process, Klabin already has a positive carbon balance of 4.5 million tons of CO₂eq, performing an extremely important environmental service for combating climate change.

Klabin's commitment to the topic contributed to the company being invited to join the COP26 Business Leaders, the group responsible for spreading and engaging the private sector in the climate change topic, in addition to dealing with the agendas of the 26th Conference of the Parties, which will be held this year.

Another important initiative by Klabin in relation to sustainability is the Klabin Objectives for Sustainable Development (KODS). In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in 2020 the company established the Klabin 2030 Agenda, with short, medium and long-term goals, which prioritize the environmental, social and governance needs that are fundamental for the development of its business and for the urgent needs of society and the planet. “Climate Change” is part of this Agenda, having as one of its goals the net capture of 45 million tons of CO₂eq from the atmosphere between 2020 and 2030.

The evolution of sustainability at Klabin

Since the 1980s, Klabin has been approaching social and environmental issues, even before the first discussions on sustainability promoted by the UN. Far beyond a concern with industrial capital, Klabin mobilizes itself in favor of efficient and responsible management of natural resources and biodiversity.

With many recognitions and certifications, Klabin continues to follow a path of respect and care for the environment.

Learn more about Klabin's history and follow the company's main news here.