“Clarity and commitment drive action”: businesses will deliver on the Paris AgreementWe Mean Business
In the past month the conversations between business and government leaders on the actions needed to implement the Paris Agreement have been revolving around two key points: clarity and commitment.
With the strong policy direction delivered by the climate deal that was reached last December, and the reiterated commitment by world governments shown at the signing ceremony in April, there can be no doubt about where the world is heading.
Two weeks ago we co-hosted Climate Action 2016, a two-day event that showcased the commitment of non-state actors – cities, businesses and sub-national goverments – to deliver on the Paris Agreement.
In collaboration with Sustainable Energy for All we hosted a breakfast discussion to discuss the energy transition and the role that states, business and NGOs can play to accelerate it.
Patrick Oliva, Senior Vice President at Michelin Group, highlighted the work that businesses are already doing to prepare for the transition. “At Michelin we have taken for granted that by 20 years or so we will not have the growth of vehicles that some are still forecasting”, he sais, citing public transportation, car-sharing and bicycles as the future of cities.
He also states that Michelin’s business model is preparing for a global decarbonisation. “By 2060 transportation will have changed because the world will be decarbonized. We’re ready for it.”
But companies and investors are not transitioning to a low-carbon system because they have to: they are actively driving the transition forward because they see the economic benefits or doing so.
A few weeks ago We Mean Business released an analysis of what the Paris Agreement means for the business and investors community, showing that the strong and clear policy signal that came out of COP21 will be scaling up the climate movement that has been underway for several years.
We highlighted the opportunities that the global level playing field created by the climate deal has created. The International Energy Agency calculated that national climate plans under the Paris Agreement represent at least a $13.5 trillion market for the energy sector alone in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies through 2030. It is a unique chance for businesses to truly combine purpose and profit.
To prove that this powerful movement is already underway, we saw businesses standing by governments during those significant days.
On April 21st, the Secretary General of the United Nations hosted a discussion on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, with a great focus on the role of public-private partnerships and collective actions by businesses.
Diane Holford, CSO at Kellogg Company, talked about how the food industry can have a positive impact on several fields and help meeting some of the Sustainable Development Goals. She spoke about improving the livelihoods of farmers producing their food, protecting the environment to tackle food safety and reduce water crisis.
Global businesses have the chance to make a difference going beyond political boundaries and creating a ripple effect when they lead by example in taking climate actions.
A similar message was conveyed by Anand Mahindra, CEO of the Mahindra Group, who spoke on behalf of the corporate sector at the historic signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement in New York. “For corporations this is the first step towards visibly integrating our interests with the interests of the future of the planet”, he said. “It is out responsibility because we have contributed to the problem. And it is up to us to help mitigate it.”
We have a long way to go to ensure sustainable practices become the new normal everywhere in the world. But these moments give us optimism as we see a strong will to act from the business community. And I look forward to seeing a great show of corporate and investors support for climate action at the Business and Climate Summit in London, on June 28-29.