Corporate Climate Action: Progress at COP27We Mean Business Coalition
As we await the final COP27 agreement text, we will soon know if negotiators in Sharm el-Sheikh have delivered the political progress which business is calling for on mitigation, adaptation and finance. We will share our insights into the unfolding negotiations and final text here.
In the meantime, as pavilions are dismantled and delegates journey home, here are some of the positive signals and key announcements from the ten days of COP27, across corporate climate ambition, action, advocacy and accountability.
Within the first week of COP27, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) announced that over 4,000 companies now have science-based targets. We saw new highs of ambition within one of the hardest-to-decarbonize sectors, as Cemex, Holcim and Titan become the first cement companies to set 1.5°C-aligned science-based targets.
In a huge step forward for net zero economies and supply chains, the U.S. government – the world’s largest purchaser – proposed that all federal contractors must set science-based targets and disclose their environmental impact through CDP, following in Norway’s recent footsteps.
As they work towards their climate goals, companies must prioritize people – and the just transition has been a key theme at this COP. For instance, as Iberdrola announced investment of $47 billion in the energy transition, the company’s Climate Change Director Gonzalo Sáenz de Miera stressed during our Business Pavilion just transition panel on Monday: “We need to change the way we engage with local people and co-create the renewable solutions we need to see.” We hosted events with indigenous and youth participants in the pavilion this year – but there’s scope for business to do more to engage and empower these groups, whose voices will be critical to ensuring an inclusive, equitable transition that leaves no-one behind.
Meanwhile, more companies are factoring nature into their climate ambition. H&M and Volkswagen became the latest to join the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) Coalition, bringing the group’s financial commitments for the purchase of high-integrity emissions reductions credits to over $1.5 billion. To support companies in their investments in nature, We Mean Business Coalition launched a new partnership with the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity initiative (VCMI), supporting companies to follow VCMI’s Claims Code and helping to ensure carbon market investments strengthen global action towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The Business Pavillion and the Marrakech Partnership hosted a series of half-day sessions to explore in detail how companies are delivering and what is needed to accelerate progress across different systems.
In fact, this has been a COP of action. One of the most important changes since COP26 in Glasgow last year is that companies are sharing concrete numbers on how much they’re investing, the amount of emissions they’re cutting, and the details of their impact. For instance, Probodha Acharya, Chief Sustainability Officer at JSW Group discussed how the company’s cement, with a carbon intensity of 300kg CO2 per tonne of cement, now makes it the lowest carbon cement company in the world. Meanwhile Natasha Santos, VP, Head of Global Stakeholder Affairs & Strategic Partnerships at Bayer spoke of the 200 million hectares now covered by farmers in their supply chain using regenerative practices.
As business leaders from around the world met, we saw the power of collaboration.
First Movers Coalition members ETEX, General Motors, RMZ Corp Vattenfall together sent a strong demand signal by committing to using 10% near-zero cement and concrete by 2030. There were two new joiners apiece for the SteelZero and ConcreteZero initiatives. Delta Electronic, Valeo and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners were among new signatories of the Zero Emission Vehicles Declaration – now the Accelerating to Zero Coalition – and will work towards 100% of their fleets being zero emission vehicles by 2030 at the latest.
New guidance and tools were launched to further support companies on the path to decarbonization. They include the Green Steel Hub from Climate Catalyst and World Resources Institute’s Systems Change Lab. The Forest Data Partnership called for companies to protect and restore nature through the use of data. Mission Possible Partnership’s 2030 Milestones, launched this week at the Business Pavilion, detail the necessary action that needs to be taken in this decade to decarbonize heavy industry.
We saw once again the huge potential of corporate climate leadership in support of ambitious climate policy, as over 100 businesses joined our call alongside The B Team and other civil society leaders for governments to stick to the 1.5°C temperature rise limit.
Meanwhile Danone, DSM, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever put the focus on land and food by calling on governments to integrate food into their Nationally Determined Contributions, and for all food sector companies to commit to science-based emissions reduction targets.
In recognition of the power of corporate advocacy, we launched our vision paper for Responsible Policy Engagement at a roundtable during the Summit. Our aim is to create a new global framework for companies that maps and integrates existing resources and builds the tools businesses need.
In the first week of COP27, we welcomed the UN High Level Expert Group’s Net Zero Standards report, which gives ten clear recommendations to ensure the robustness of net zero claims. This will make greenwashing easier to detect and allow those companies that are really delivering on climate action to show their impact. The recommendations are very aligned with The 4 A’s of Climate Leadership and our newly-launched guidance on climate transition action plans.
A further signal of the importance of companies setting credible climate transition action plans came from the UK’s Transition Plan Taskforce, which published its Disclosure Framework to develop a ‘gold standard’ for climate transition plans.
And in a move that will streamline reporting for companies and move a step closer to a common language for disclosure, CDP announced that it will incorporate the International Sustainability Standard Board (ISSB) climate-related disclosure standard into its disclosure platform.
We know what needs to be done across sectors, and we have the tools to deliver it.
Let’s now build on all the progress we have seen at COP to double down on the action needed – because 1.5°C is a limit, not a target.