Businesses are implementing climate commitments; they need to be reinforced by sound national climate policies.
With the Paris Agreement now in force, businesses agree that we need to move from adoption to speedy implementation.
Business has a significant role to play in enabling the global economy to achieve – and exceed – its climate goals. As a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, the private sector is a crucial partner in securing a prosperous and sustainable low carbon economy for all.
Jill Duggan, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, which brings together 24 leading European businesses employing 2 million people worldwide, said:
“With the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, the world now has a legal mandate to bring about a zero carbon future. This is a fantastic business opportunity. What is now required from corporate leaders is a real step change in the way they deal with climate change. They must move from an incremental, compliance approach to a transformational approach, the only one that can deliver a sustainable, prosperous world.”
More companies are committed to leadership on climate action than at any time in history. But, there is more to be done to fully realise business’ potential to contribute to putting the world on a below 2°C trajectory.
A recent report by CDP in partnership with We Mean Business revealed that the large majority of companies already have targets in place to reduce their carbon emissions, but that current business plans fall short of what is needed for business to deliver on the world’s new low carbon goals.
Frances Way, Co-chief operating officer, CDP, said:
“The race is on for global corporations to seize the opportunities presented by the sustainable transition. While the majority of companies are out of the starting blocks and on the low carbon path, clear policy intervention is needed to spur even greater ambition and help drive business over the below-2˚C finish-line.”
1. Businesses are committed to ambitious action on climate change
The private sector is ready to partner with governments across the globe to deliver emissions reductions at scale. The number of companies making climate commitments through the We Mean Business coalition has more than doubled since COP21.
In total 471 companies with over $8 trillion in market capitalisation have undertaken well over a thousand ambitious commitments to climate action. These companies represent every sector and geography globally.
2. Businesses are already implementing these commitments
The Science Based Targets initiative has seen tremendous momentum since Paris, representing the clearest, most ambitious pathway for companies to set Paris compliant emissions reductions targets. To date, almost 200 companies have joined the initiative, and in the past year, growth has been at a rate of over 2 new companies per week.
Walmart, the largest company by revenue and the largest private sector employer in the world announced its science-based target on the same day as the Paris Agreement came into force.
Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart said:
"Walmart is the first retailer with an emissions-reduction plan approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative, in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015. Under the approved plan, Walmart will use a combination of energy-efficiency measures, together with a commitment to source half of the company's energy needs from renewable sources, to achieve an 18 percent emissions reduction in its own operations by 2025. Additionally, Walmart will work with suppliers to reduce emissions by 1 Gigaton by 2030, equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off US roads and highways for a year”.
70 companies across 20 sectors from nearly 30 countries have aligned with the Business Leadership Criteria on Carbon Pricing, a set of ambitious standards to help companies set, advocate and report on a price on carbon, developed by the UNGC together with UNEP, the UNFCCC secretariat and Caring for Climate partners – CDP, Principles for Responsible Investment, The Climate Group and UN Foundation.
To promote business resilience to climate change, the UN Global Compact made a call for companies to commit to responsible corporate adaptation in June 2016. Adapting to climate impacts offers many benefits to the private sector, such as improving operations and competitiveness, leveraging new business opportunities, building corporate reputation and protecting value chains. To date nearly 10 companies have commited to promote business resilience to climate change.
3. Business’ seven specific asks of governments at COP22
To fully realise the private sector’s potential to deliver emissions reductions at scale, corporate action needs to be reinforced by sound national climate policies.
Many companies have committed to take action that supports the delivery of the Paris Agreement, moving further and faster than their government’s require. Their contribution will be vital to the delivery of the Paris goals. To fully realise the private sector’s potential to deliver emissions reductions at scale, corporate action will need to be reinforced by sound national climate policies.
In support of climate action and to harness their full potential, business leaders look to governments to:
- Scale up enabling policies through the Global Climate Action Agenda and the Technical Examination Process on mitigation to drive pre-2020 mitigation ambition
- Fully implement NDCs through domestic legislation and regulation to incentivize an immediate response from the private sector to the ambition of the Paris Agreement
- Drive towards net zero emissions by communicating long-term low GHG development strategies
- Connect non-state action to an increase in ambition with every 5-year NDC cycle, starting in 2018
- Mobilise climate finance at scale from public and private sources.
- Enact meaningful pricing of carbon
- Build climate-resilient economies and communities
— ENDS —
This press release was first published on the UNFCCC website.
Notes for editors
About We Mean Business
We Mean Business is a coalition of organizations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors. These businesses recognize that the transition to a low carbon economy is the only way to secure sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all. To accelerate this transition, we have formed a common platform to amplify the business voice, catalyse bold climate action by all, and promote smart policy frameworks.
CDP, formerly Carbon Disclosure Project, is an international, not-for-profit organization providing the global system for companies, cities, states and regions to measure, disclose, manage and share vital information on their environmental performance. CDP, voted number one climate research provider by investors, works with 827 institutional investors with assets of US$100 trillion and 89 purchasing organisations with a combined annual spend of over US$2.7 trillion, to motivate companies to disclose their impacts on the environment and natural resources and take action to reduce them. Some 5,800 companies, representing close to 60% global market capitalisation, disclosed environmental information through CDP in 2016. CDP now holds the most comprehensive collection globally of primary corporate environmental data and puts these insights at the heart of strategic business, investment and policy decisions.
CGEM, the General Confederation of Enterprises of Morocco, represents the private sector towards public and institutional authorities. It speaks on behalf of its 88,000 direct and affiliated members and seeks to provide an economic environment conducive to business growth.
About the United Nations Global Compact
The United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate practices. Launched in 2000, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 8,000 companies and 4,000 non-business signatories based in over 170 countries, and more than 85 Local Networks.
About the Global Climate Action Agenda
France and Morocco's global climate champions have set out their detailed agenda to boost cooperative action between governments, cities, business, investors and citizens to cut emissions rapidly and help vulnerable nations adapt to climate impacts and build their own clean energy, sustainable futures. The action agenda is an important support and catalyst to the early and effective implementation of the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement.
About The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group
The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) is a select club of European business leaders working together, under the patronage of The Prince of Wales, to advocate solutions to climate change to policymakers and business peers at the highest level, both within the EU and globally. The CLG is a partner of We Mean Business.
For more details about this release, please contact:
We Mean Business
+44 (0) 7391 512090
+44 (0) 203 818 3913
UN Global Compact