Global CEOs call for climate action
23 November 2015
BT’s CEO Gavin Patterson and Global CEOs urge world leaders to reach an ambitious climate deal.
The heads of major multinationals from around the world including BT CEO Gavin Patterson are urging world leaders to “reach an ambitious climate deal” that they argue will “generate jobs and growth” across the world.
In an open message, 78 CEO climate leaders – a cross-sectoral coalition facilitated by the World Economic Forum that includes banking, manufacturing, construction and energy companies – extend “an open offer” to governments to co-design climate solutions ahead of the UNFCCC’s Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris. The conference will see the leaders of nearly 200 countries meet to finalize a global agreement on climate. “Delaying action is not an option,” they said.
The message has been welcomed by the UN’s top climate official, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She said that climate action represents a “massive economic opportunity,” adding: “This is the first intentionally directed industrial revolution and will be the source of good new jobs and strong growth for the coming decades, something developing countries are increasingly realizing and taking the lead on.”
These business chiefs collectively represent $2.06 trillion in revenue, equivalent to India’s GDP. Importantly, many of them lead companies from outside of the OECD group of developed nations and pledge support for developing countries to adapt to a warmer world. A key challenge in climate negotiations is how emerging economies will find investment to shift to greener energy systems and build infrastructure to withstand the floods and heatwaves that scientists say are likely to increase as the climate changes.
The move is part of the ongoing push to deliver a lasting legacy on climate change. The 72 CEOs hope to capitalize on the momentum created by pledges from over 150 countries, notably from the US and China, in recent months to bolster the case that governments have industry support to take decisive action to combat climate change.
As well as pledging support, the CEOs have committed their companies to:
- Reduce environmental and carbon footprints and collaborate in supply chains
- Act as ambassadors for climate action, focusing on solutions and economic opportunities
- Manage climate risks and include them in decision-making, realizing growth opportunities
- Explicit or implicit carbon pricing, which they believe will “trigger low-carbon investment”
- Innovation in alternative and renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and an end to deforestation
- Climate action through greater corporate disclosure of carbon risks and projects such as green bonds
- That governments set science-based global and national targets for the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions and the development of alternative energy sources