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Can Licensing Save the Planet?

November 2023 by Raghav Vivek Anand


That acronym would suffice to sum up the reactions of most working professionals when asked about their contribution to Scope 3 emissions, let alone the role of licensing in helping to combat the climate crisis.

Such was the paradigm that the Sustainability in Licensing Conference (SiLC) aimed to change on 8 November 2023.

Sustainability in Licensing

Licensing can be defined as the leasing of a trademarked or copyrighted property (a name, logo, or character, for example) for use in connection with a product, service, or promotion. The conference aimed to highlight the necessity of the over $340 billion licensing industry to stand at the forefront of implementing sustainability into corporate operations. Through various presentations from industry leaders across multiple big-name corporations such as Disney, Mattel and Ikea, the event displayed the increasing demand across the board for stronger efforts towards sustainable processes.

The event was hosted by Products of Change, an online media and community hub designed to support sustainable education within the world of consumer goods. Through peer-to-peer learning across various sectors, POC aims to effect sustainable change across markets and presented the SiLC conference as a large-scale peer-to-peer learning experience for professionals part of a general licensing sector.

Carbon Literacy in Licensing

One of the many speakers at the SiLC conference was our co-founder, Phil Korbel. While he was invited to speak on the necessity of companies to understand their Scope 3 emissions data and the significance of such understanding in creating sustainable practices, this in turn, highlighted the necessity for Carbon Literacy in companies involved in licensing.

The full scope of Scope 3 emissions

Phil made the point that Scope 3 emissions are not simply a measurement of a company’s internal operations but of the operations of other industries and corporations using their licensing. No man (or indeed company) is an island, and corporations must understand the impact of their licensing and sales on carbon emissions worldwide.

Companies need to rise to the sustainability challenge

Phil also argued that while working from this belief would make the process of collecting data surrounding Scope 3 emissions difficult, this is the exact reason that it should be undertaken. Only through beginning the process could we hope to get a better idea of the challenges and requirements of the process, regardless of how difficult or time-consuming the task might seem at the start. POC described sustainability as our “Man-on-the-Moon” project, which Kennedy famously described as “not being done because it is easy, but because it is hard”. With this sentiment, companies should look to begin the process of collecting Scope 3 emissions data in order to begin a process which could drastically speed up carbon reduction efforts in the future.

Climate education is key

Finally, Phil called for greater education surrounding sustainability, the effects of the current climate crisis and the ability of companies to make a difference. Noting considerable illiteracy regarding sustainability and the climate crisis in workplaces, Phil pushed for the need for companies to educate and motivate their employees to better allow for an organically created low-carbon culture. Carbon Literacy training helps simultaneously teach and inspire employees on actions that can be taken to reduce carbon emissions.

Phil’s talk led to many fruitful conversations with some industry giants, with a number expressing interest in Carbon Literacy training in their workplace. Through this, we would hope for there to be fewer “WTF??”s around topics such as Scope 3 emissions in the future.

The speech ultimately conveyed an important point – that we, as members of this generation, owe a responsibility to our board of directors – the generations that follow. It is up to us and our actions to ensure that we don’t let them down.

If you would like Phil to speak at an event you’re organising, please contact us at info@carbonliteracy.com.

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