The FINANCIAL -- Unprecedented corporate engagement on key climate issues including carbon pricing, finance, responsible policy engagement and science-based targets were announced on December 8 at the conclusion of the Caring for Climate (C4C) Business Forum, the official avenue for business at the Conference of Parties (COP) event in Paris.
The UN Global Compact, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the secretariat of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) came together under the banner of Caring for Climate – the world’s largest business coalition for climate change – to convene more than 700 participants over two-days from business, finance, Government, civil society and the United Nations to discuss the integral role of the private sector in advancing the climate agenda.
The event was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal ; and Secretary of State of the United States John Kerry, according to Global Compact.
In his opening remarks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted the key role of business in the global effort to keep global temperature increase below 2°C. “The collective momentum among the private sector for climate action is growing daily. More companies and investors are leading on climate action than at any time in history,” he remarked in his opening address. “But to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees we must go much further and faster. We need 100 percent participation from the business community.”
“The private sector can help to fill the gap between what has been committed by Governments through the INDCs and what is needed to reach a carbon neutral economy by mid-century,” said Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “Our job coming out of Paris is to mobilize the great majority of companies that are not yet part of this movement.”
Over the course of the Forum – held as part of COP21/CMP11 and the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) – participants reported on progress on the development and diffusion of low-carbon and climate-resilient solutions, shared targets, and met with policymakers on how to better collaborate to drive climate action. In addition, business and investors shared commitments and contributions, discussed pricing the cost of carbon emissions, and made key recommendations for Government actions that would help bring greater scale and quality to corporate climate leadership globally.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the support of over 154 U.S. companies for action on climate change through their commitment to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge: “As you leave Paris, carry a clear message that how we do business today will determine if we do business in the future,” said Kerry. “ In the end, its business - the choices you make and the products you make that will make the difference.”
In addition, CEOs presented a number of commitments around concrete solutions, including :
Over 450 CEOs from 65 countries across 30 sectors committed to set targets, report on progress and work with policymakers to drive climate action through the Caring for Climate initiative;
65 CEOs with a total market capitalization of USD 1.9 trillion across 20 sectors have integrated carbon pricing into corporate long-term strategies and investment decisions, taking on the triple challenge of setting an internal carbon price, reporting publicly, and calling for carbon markets through the Business Leadership Criteria on Carbon Pricing;
114 companies have committed to engage responsibly on climate policy. As part of their commitment, these companies have agreed to: (1) set up processes to internally audit all activities that a company takes part in that influences climate policy; (2) work to ensure that all of this activity is consistent; and (3) communicate on policy positions, actions and outcomes;
114 companies from around the world committed to align their emissions reductions targets in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2°C through the Science-Based Targets initiative;
79 chief executives, representing USD 2.13 trillion in revenue announced that their companies would be taking steps to reduce environmental and carbon footprints, set targets to reduce their emissions, and collaborate with supply chains and across sectors;
140 companies with a total market capitalization of over USD 100 billion and nearly 30 institutional investment firms with assets estimated at USD 2.5 trillion committed to producing climate change-related information in their mainstream reports; and
39 major French companies made a firm pledge to combat climate change, committing at least 45 billion euros over the next 5 years for investments and financing in renewable energies, energy efficiency and other technologies accelerating the transition to a clean energy, low carbon future.
Since 2007, the Caring for Climate initiative has brought over 450 companies together to call for a robust international agreement, recognizing that this is essential for providing predictability, unlocking capital and advancing the power of sustainable business. Through their individual commitments and actions, these companies have shown that they are ready to fill the gap between what has been committed by Governments though the INDCs and what is needed to reach a carbon neutral economy by mid-century:
In their annual analysis, Deloitte found that since 2013, Caring for Climate signatories have reduced their carbon footprints by 12%. The new targets announced at COP, if achieved, will generate an estimated annual emissions savings of 93.6 million metric tons CO2e or more than the annual carbon emissions of Peru.
Further, this group of signatories reported that 749 discreet projects had been implemented in their operations in the previous year to reduce carbon emissions. These projects are estimated to have a combined annual savings of just over 160 million metric tonnes of CO2e; this is equivalent to the consumption of 372 million barrels of oil per the US EPA.
In its third year, the Caring for Climate Business Forum has gained increasing prominence as the private sector has emerged as an essential part of the climate change solution. Led by the UN Global Compact in partnership with UNEP and UNFCCC, Caring for Climate is the world’s largest voluntary business and climate initiative with over 450 companies from 65 countries. It helps to forge stronger alliances between companies and Governments, speed up the delivery of green solutions, scale up climate finance, create jobs and deliver sustainable energy systems on a massive scale.