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Governments urged to ensure ‘trillionth tonne’ of carbon is never emitted – 8 April 2014

last modified Aug 21, 2019 04:57 PM

Embargoed: 00:01 GMT, 8 April 2014 


Governments urged to ensure ‘trillionth tonne’ of carbon is never emitted 

Governments must put policies in place to prevent the cumulative emission of more than a trillion tonnes of carbon, according to a statement from leading global businesses today. Failure to limit the stock of carbon in the atmosphere would risk increasingly serious climate impacts. 

The Trillion Tonne Communiqué, coordinated by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, has so far been signed by 70 companies from 5 continents, including major multinationals like Acciona, Adidas, CalSTRS, EDF Energy, ING, Mars, Shell, TetraPak, and Unilever, with a collective turnover of around $900bn. It calls for a ‘rapid and focused response’ to the threat posed by rising global carbon emissions, and the ‘disruptive climate impacts’ inevitably associated with them. 

Eliot Whittington, Deputy Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group said: “This Communiqué sends a clear message from business at a critical time, when events in the Ukraine have refocused global attention on energy security, and just as the scientific consensus reminds us all of the imperative of collective action.” 

Specifically the Communiqué calls on governments to: 

  • Set a timeline for achieving net zero emissions before the end of the century 
  • Design a credible strategy to transform the energy system 
  • Create a plan to manage reliance on fossil fuels, especially coal   

Sir Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive, Kingfisher plc said: “Our energy system is not fit for purpose. Governments need to do much more to incentivise and reward investment in low-carbon technology, as well as to encourage energy and resource efficiency. Businesses cannot act alone: they need clear regulatory frameworks to provide certainty and help them drive transformation towards a more energy secure future.” 

Johan Karlström, CEO of Skanska AB said: “The threat of climate change is real and urgent. To curb emissions we need to work together. From a business point of view it is already a competitive advantage to be a leader in green but governments can speed up the progress substantially by setting up a level playing field that rewards the leaders in low carbon technology and energy efficiency.” 

Niall Dunne, Chief Sustainability Officer at BT said: “We need to get beyond the concept that progressive climate change policy is bad for business: it can be a huge driver of innovation and create opportunities for growth and prosperity. Conversely, there isn’t an organisation I know of which isn’t already being impacted by climate change at some level. Collective responsibility across governments, business and civic society is vital to ensure the world is on track for net zero emissions before the end of the century.” 

Nigel Lake, Joint CEO of Australian-based global advisory firm Pottinger, said: "For large coal exporting nations like Australia, carbon capture and storage is not only important for environmental reasons but also is critical for the competitiveness of some of our leading companies and the sustainability of our economy for the long term." 

The Trillion Tonne Communiqué is the seventh in a series coordinated by the Corporate Leaders Group, representing the voice of progressive international business. In the last week it has been endorsed in speeches by two leading CEOs, Paul Polman of Unilever, and Vincent de Rivaaz of EDF Energy. 

This year’s statement comes ahead of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the actions scientists believe are necessary to mitigate climate change. It also looks to the UN climate change talks in Paris in 2015 as a major opportunity to secure global agreement on a net zero emissions goal. The Communiqué will remain open for companies to sign until the Paris meeting commences. 

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Contact details


To read the full Communiqué, see the signatories and translations go to: (Communiqué embargoed till 00:01GMT April 8)

Signatories to the Communiqué so far: ACCA, Adidas Group, Anglian Water, ARICIA India International (P) Limited, Ashridge Business School, BT, CalSTRS, Canmore Partnership Ltd, The Carbon Capture and Storage Association, The Carbon Trust, The CarbonNeutral Company, CEBDS - Conselho Empresarial Brasileiro para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável, Cisco, CJH Multisourcing SNC, Climate Friendly Pty Ltd, CO2-monitor AG, Coloplast A/S, Crown Oil Ltd, Doosan, Ecofrotas, Eden Ventures, EDF Energy, Energy Resources Management, Falvez Energy, Fisdel Green Consult Ltd, The Gold Standard Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, Graham A Brown & Associates, Green Directions, Harbon Wind Turbines Ltd, Heathrow, Herban Lifestyle, HESTA, Hollard, Honeybee, If P&C Insurance, Infinergy Limited, ING Group, Inheritance India, Kingfisher, Lloyds Banking Group, Madison Computer Works, Inc., Marks & Spencer, Mars Incorporated, MPCEE, Net Balance, Nouveau Energy, Novelis Inc, Novo Nordisk A/S, Pale Blue Dot Energy Ltd, Philips, Pottinger, Sandwalk Ltd, Shell, Skanska, Sky, SolaVis, Sustainable Intelligence, Spier Wine Farm, Tetra Pak, Thames Water, Tri Tec Group, Unilever, Verco, Wiles Greenworld Ltd, wolfcraft GmbH, WSP Group, YTL Corporation Berhad 

The Communiqué remains open for signing by businesses. Visit: 

The Working Group III contribution to 5th Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change, Mitigation of Climate Change, will be published on April 13 at 11:00 CET.

Members of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group will be available to respond. Contact: Eliot Whittington, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on +44 7703770024.