The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), whose members include Coca Cola Enterprises, EDF Energy, Jaguar Land Rover, Philips, Tesco, and Unilever, among others, is urging governments to use the upcoming UN summit on climate change in New York on 23 September to raise ambition and commit to concrete action to drive down emissions and pave the way to a low carbon future.
The CLG, hosted by the University of Cambridge Instituted for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), represents UK, EU and multinational businesses from a range of sectors that support transformative action on climate change and resource efficiency. These companies take the science of climate change seriously and are already pursuing progressive policy and market reform. They want governments to go further by providing regulatory certainty and ambitious targets on GHG emissions and energy efficiency, and to adequately price carbon in order to stimulate investment in a low carbon economy and society.
The patron of the Corporate Leaders Group, HRH The Prince of Wales, will release a video message at the summit, in which he will say: “The battle against climate change is surely the most defining and pivotal challenge of our times. We cannot meet the climate change challenge unless business and government actively work together. Through the work of my Corporate Leaders Group, I am encouraged that more and more businesses are supporting a transformative goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions well before the end of the century. Taking action on climate change is neither inherently bad for business nor against economic interests. It is, in fact, the only rational choice.”
In the week of the summit, which will be attended by 125 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the Corporate Leaders Group will partner with Track Zero and Skanska to host an event at the Empire State Building on the role of cities in meeting climate goals. Speakers will include Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, Farhana Yamin, Founder, Track Zero, and Elizabeth Heider, CSO, Skanska US.
Elizabeth Heider, CSO of Skanska US said: “Climate change is a critical issue that is increasingly influencing major business decisions. Investment in low-carbon energy efficient options makes business sense and is the best strategy for a prosperous future economy. By setting clear and binding energy efficiency targets, in the context of a coherent and ambitious overall climate change and energy security strategy, governments would send the right signal to businesses wanting to invest.”
The Corporate Leaders Group will also support the launch at the summit of a new World Bank statement on Carbon Pricing, which will be endorsed by multiple governments, companies, and investors, and will build on the messages outlined in the CLG’s Carbon Price Communiqué. World Bank President Jim Kim will launch the statement, alongside the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on September 23.
José Manuel Entrecanales, the ACCIONA Chairman & CEO said: “Climate change poses huge risks to us all, but also it also offers significant opportunities. The low carbon economy is worth $4 trillion and growing at a rate of 4% per annum. Renewables have a vital part to play in ensuring a safe, sustainable future energy supply for us all. By providing clear support and ambitious targets, governments would trigger a clean energy revolution.”
Deforestation will be another key issue under discussion at the summit. The importance of tackling it is recognized by the group and its Royal patron. The Banking Environment Initiative, another CISL-hosted business platform whose patron is The Prince of Wales, will also take part in discussions at the summit on deforestation.
“If we want to avoid the dangerous consequences of climate change, we must preserve tropical forests immediately,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. “As business leaders it is imperative that we use our purchasing power to catalyze behavior change and help transform the supply chains of some of the world’s most environmentally intensive commodities. Deforestation is illegal and cannot be reversed. If we work together to halt deforestation we will have the chance both to stop global warming and to preserve some of the world’s richest biodiversity.”
The Corporate Leaders Group is a member of the We Mean Business coalition, which will launch its flagship report on the eve of the UN Summit in New York. The report will illustrate low carbon business success stories and identify policy measures that would allow business to go even further in helping to meet the climate change challenge. The launch will be accompanied by a CEO panel discussion on how a new clean industrial revolution is good for business and is already creating jobs.
Sandrine Dixson-Decleve, Director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group said: “There is a powerful and growing consensus among leading businesses on the need for action. More companies and investors are committed to bold leadership on climate than ever because they know it makes business sense. It stands to reason that if you need to modernise then do it right – and bring in low carbon energy assets and infrastructure which will provide multiple benefits and boost the economy. Now is the time to accelerate both ambition and action, ahead of the UNFCCC meeting in Paris in 2015, at which leaders will need to agree a new global deal.”
Notes and contact:
More on Twitter: @climateCLG, @CISL_Cambridge, @WMBTweets, #wemeanit, #CWNYC and via the web http://www.climateweeknyc.org
The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) is hosted by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), which brings together business, government and academia to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges. See more at: www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/CLG
The CLG is a partner of the We Mean Business coalition representing organisations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors. Members: BSR, The B Team, CDP, Ceres, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and WBCSD.