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Business+Climate Summit: Because Acting On #ClimateRisk Cannot Wait

Posted on June 28, 2016 at 8:30 AM

Pity the organisers of the Business and Climate summit that begins today in London, with two days at the Guildhall.

Because they laid their plans, with painstaking international colllaboration among those focused on climate risk, with no inkling that a few days before the event, the host country would vote for Brexit and reveal its capacity for a complete absence of leadership.

There can be few better examples of how to shoot yourself in the foot, when you want a mutually beneficial result. Exiting the EU and also tackling environmental risk for every person in the EU - and on the planet - seems counter-intuitive. See my post last year on Forbes: On Climate Change We Are All Shareholders.

So in post-Brexit (and increasingly la la) land, the second annual gathering of leading global businesses and politicians dedicated to climate action kicks off today to address how business can, and should, respond to the historic #ParisAgreement.

Segolene Royal, President of COP 21

"Businesses are key for the implementation of the Paris agreement. Many advocate carbon pricing in order to give the right signal to investors and drive the transition towards a low carbon economy, which is very encouraging. As president of COP21, I aim to promote a carbon price that is high, stable and coordinated” Ségolène Royal, Minister of Environment, Energy and the Sea, in charge of International Climate Relations, Government of France, and President of COP21, will say in an opening keynote address.

Another leader in this terribly important global intitiative - and also another woman, as often seems to be the case - is Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC

She will address the Summit’s opening session in her last major international speech in her current role. It is clear to anyone following this collaborative universe of individuals on Twitter that her energy and her commitment will be greatly missed.

“In the run up to COP21 in Paris an extraordinary alliance of business and investors committed to ambitious actions via the dedicated NAZCA portal. I believe that you can truly say— 'We’re Accelerating Climate Action'. But a universal climate agreement of nations also needs universal support from the private sector beyond Europe and North America. I would urge committed business to reach out to peers in Africa, Asia and Latin America in order to further seed, catalyse and build action everywhere and in support of COP22 in Marrakech” Ms Figueres willl say.

A new report, ‘The Business End of Climate Change’, produced by the We Mean Business coalition in partnership with CDP and analysis from the New Climate Institute, will be launched during the Summit.


It will outline what climate action business is already committed to, and what impact that will have on greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. It will also demonstrate what more could be achieved with business and governments working together to achieve the right policy environment for enhanced climate action.

Businesses have committed to reducing emissions by 3.7 billion metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year by 2030. With the right policy enabling environment, the reductions could be as high as 10 billion, it will say.

“Our report shows that business will be a key driver of climate action to reduce global CO2 equivalent emissions by 2030. But it can, and should, go further still. Government and business must continue to work together to create the right policy framework for enhanced climate action to make this happen" - Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group will say.

Just think - when people from disparate backgrounds in search of a common goal come together to face a universal threat - what they can achieve. It would, of course, be even more welcome if we did not have to look to a disaster scenario to necessitate collaboration.

Global CEOs addressing the summit  include: Stuart Gulliver, CEO, HSBC; Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever; Rana Kapoor, Founder, Managing Director and CEO, Yes Bank;  Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP; Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman, Paris EUROPLACE, Chairman, ENGIE;  Mahendra Singhi, CEO and Whole Time Director, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited; and Jean-Dominique Senard, CEO, Michelin.

Categories: Business, Climate, Investors