We are almost half way through the critical Road to Paris. The following few months that separate us from the pivotal COP21 will be instrumental in materializing the transition to a low-carbon economy. Being among the 2000 business leaders who came together at the Business & Climate Summit (BCS) in Paris I left with a clear sense of optimism about the change that is happening. The Summit clearly demonstrated that business is ready and willing to act to tackle the climate challenge. Low-carbon growth, driven by innovation, the right economic incentives and multilateral collaboaration, is the only way to secure sustainable profits and employment in the future. Business is increasingly aware of this opportunity and its support to drive the transition to a low-carbon economy is growing fast.
With an increasing number of business leaders signing up for various campaigns everyday, innovative companies are spearheading ambitious climate action. This simply makes good business sense because it stands for creating growth, employment and a safe operating space, there is simply no alternative business model going forward. Through the We Mean Business coalition, of which WBCSD is a core partner, we are inviting companies and investors alike to commit to low-carbon targets and solutions. These range from the adoption of science-based emissions reductions targets, to the removal of commodity driven deforestation from supply chains and the procurement of electricity from renewable sources among others. WBCSD is working closely with the IEA and SDSN to develop the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi), in which more than 80 companies are currently working on 8 big business solutions that will support the development and diffusion of low-carbon technologies globally.
For the WBCSD, Climate Week Paris kicked off with the LCTPi (Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative) Roundtable on 19 May in which over 160 participants focused on building collaborative business solution action plans under the eight focus areas of the LCTPi (Renewables, Energy Efficiency in Buildings, CCS, Cement, Advanced Biofuels, Climate Smart Agriculture, Forests and Chemicals).
Through the WeMeanBusiness coalition and other organising partners, some 6.5 million companies from 130 countries were represented at the Business & Climate Summit (BCS) that followed on 20-21 May. In his opening remarks at the BCS, President François Hollande emphasised the key role business has to play in building the prosperous, low-carbon economy of the future. Across all sectors, business is developing low-carbon solutions and preparing to collaborate with cities, governments and other stakeholders for their wide-scale deployment. Yet, business can do more. More ambition and innovative collaboration among businesses coupled with solid national and international policies inspiring confidence will be required for bringing these solutions to scale. In an unprecedented unified voice, the outcome document of the Business & Climate Summit called for a global climate deal that achieves net zero emissions before the end of the century. The introduction of robust and effective carbon pricing mechanisms was another key component of the consensus that emerged from the discussions.
This week all governments will meet in Bonn, for a next round of negotiations towards the COP-21 meeting later this year in Paris. The announcement by six major companies from the oil & gas sector, expressing their desire to be part of the solution for climate change and calling for carbon pricing to become part of the policy frameworks, is yet another example of business’ support for the policy makers to be bold and ambitious on climate action.
If your company has not yet taken climate action so far, there is still time to join the forward-thinking businesses that are shaping tomorrow’s low-carbon world. This is your opportunity to turn climate talks into climate action. Seize this opportunity, as Paris is just around the corner. I am convinced that those who lead climate action today will be the successful businesses of tomorrow.