CEOs of 50 major global companies representing more than $1.5tr in revenue have urged world leaders to collaborate more closely with the private sector in order to rapidly speed up the transition towards a low carbon economy.
Ahead of the UN Climate Summit in Poland, leading bosses are calling for more ambitious policy levers to establish effective carbon pricing mechanisms, shift investment from the high to low carbon economy, and boost societal demand for green products and services.
The intervention, coordinated by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Alliance of Climate Action CEOs, has backing from the heads of raft of global business, including AXA, Ørsted, HSBC, BT, Allianz, Carlsberg, UBS, and many others
In an open latter they state that between them, the companies in the Alliance of Climate Action CEOs cut their emissions by 47 million metric tonnes between 2015 and 2016 – a nine per cent decrease – and are committed to reducing emissions further.
It highlights business-led climate initiatives, such as setting Science-Based Targets, putting internal prices on carbon, reducing energy use, shifting to renewables, and working across value chains to reduce emissions.
However, the CEOs said they wanted to see a clear signal from the COP24 negotiations that governments are willing to step up their own decarbonisation efforts and strengthen their engagement with those businesses that are working to tackle climate change.
The aim of limiting global warming to ‘well below’ 2C, as set out in the Paris Agreement, is “clearly not on track” it states, emphasising that “we need to do more, faster, and together”.
“Climate change is a major threat to our environment, societies and economy, endangering our well-being and prosperity,” the letter states. “But a prosperous, inclusive and low-carbon world is possible. The shift to a low-carbon economy will be positive for communities and workers, future-proofing our businesses and economies while protecting the planet for future generations. By working together, we can accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and realise the future that humanity wants and needs.”
Feike Sijbesma, CEO and chairman of the manAging board at Royal DSM and also chair of the WEF’s CEO Alliance, said business had an “increasingly vital” role to play in accelerating the shift to a low carbon and climate-resilient economy.
“This will require partnerships with other companies, governments at all levels and civil society,” he said. “It also requires bold leadership and good governance, which will allow long-term creation of shareholder value alongside long-term value for our society. We, as business leaders, are committed to climate action and stand ready to facilitate fast-track solutions to help world leaders deliver on an enhanced and more ambitious action plan to tackle climate change and meet the goals set out at the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.”