Race to Zero: CEOs call for healthy, resilient and inclusive zero-carbon recoveryThe We Mean Business coalition
At the launch of Race to Zero, CEOs and other business leaders from a host of sectors and countries voiced their support for countries to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, to better accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon future that is fair, inclusive and leaves no-one behind.
Coinciding with World Environment Day, Race to Zero is a global campaign in the run up to COP26 to mobilize leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery.
A host of leaders took the time to share their thoughts on why the zero-carbon transition should be at the heart of all national recovery efforts and how climate action is helping their companies to thrive and be more resilient, even during the challenging times experienced because of the coronavirus.
These leaders include: Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East, BT Group Chairman Jan du Plessis, Ingka Group (IKEA) CEO Jesper Brodin, Nestle CEO Ulf Mark Schneider, Anglian Water CEO Peter Simpson, Signify CEO Eric Rondolat, PensionDanmark CEO Torben Möger Pedersen, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen and Enel CEO Francesco Starace.
They join hundreds of companies in some of the hardest to abate sectors and those most impacted by COVID-19, in a high-level virtual launch mobilising a coalition of net zero emissions initiatives, representing more than 1000 businesses, 410 cities, 24 regions, and 36 of the biggest investors. These ‘real economy’ actors join 120 countries in the Climate Ambition Alliance, the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
The collective message is clear. Business as usual is no longer an option. This World Environment Day is a chance to reset the direction of the global economy and begin the Race to Zero.
BT Group Chairman Jan du Plessis is calling for government, business and society to work together like never before.
“At BT, we have long recognised the importance of setting ambitious carbon-reduction targets. Working with our colleagues and customers, we’ve been able to reduce our carbon intensity and we are now partnering with suppliers to reduce their emissions and spur eco-innovation, helping us to become a net-zero emissions business by 2045,” says BT Chairman Jan du Plessis.
Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East on the need to harness low-carbon energy
“The need to tackle the climate emergency has not waned and as we seek to revive our global economy, power is going to play a pivotal role; that power has to be lower carbon and more sustainable”, said Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East.
Ingka Group (IKEA) CEO Jesper Brodin re-commits to emissions targets as they mobilize towards net-zero.
“The climate crisis is not going to wait for corona. And that’s why we believe truly that the next crisis we are going to face will have an even bigger impact on both health and economy if we don’t do something about it,” says Jesper Brodin, CEO for Ingka Group (IKEA).
“The world is mobilising around the Paris Agreement and so are we in IKEA and in Ingka and that means we have committed ourselves to a goal to be climate positive not far away in the future, but already in 2030. We are re-committing ourselves to 2030 to a very strong movement.”
Nestlé CEO Ulf Mark Schneider calls for policy makers and companies to build a recovery that accelerates progress on climate change and delivers prosperity for all.
“This crisis is a moment for us to reflect. We must focus on building a better future that addresses the huge challenges facing society today,” says Nestlé CEO Ulf Mark Schneider.
“Climate change will define the future for every family, community and business on the planet. The economic recovery should deliver faster and more ambition progress on tackling climate change. I call on policy makers, companies and others to build a recovery that protects health and the environment, accelerates progress on climate change and delivers prosperity for all.”
Signify CEO Eric Rondolat on tackling the threat of climate change.
“We can’t afford not to take bold climate action. It’s needed and it’s needed now. If the current crisis is like a bad dream, the nightmare of the climate crisis will prove far worse for humanity.
The economic fallout from the coronavirus is and will be huge but it’s just about manageable. However, the climate crisis path, we’re currently on will be truly destructive if we fail to act decisively,” said Eric Rondolat, CEO of Signify.
PensionDanmark CEO Torben Moger Pederson says the restart of the economy must support the green transition.
“We have a unique opportunity to combine the policy measures to increase growth, job creation and accelerate the green transition,” says Torben Moger Pederson, CEO of PensionDanmark.
Novo Nordisk CEO on health, wellbeing and the environment
Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, says, “there’s actually a close link between the environment and how we live and chronic diseases, so it’s important we see climate change and healthy living hand in hand.”
“Our next target is to have zero emissions from operations and transport by 2030. Our ultimate goal is to have zero environmental impact, and with that in mind our vision is to help the world recover from COVID-19.”
Enel CEO Francesco Starace on accelerating the energy transition
“As we look to recover from the coronavirus, we must redouble our efforts in the energy transition,” Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager of Enel said.
“Sustainability is resilience and risk aversion. Now it’s time to restart the economy.”
Anglian Water CEO Peter Simpson says reducing carbon has reduced costs and driven performance.
“Taking action on climate change has helped us as a business drive performance. By reducing carbon we’ve reduced costs and long-term planning is reducing the risk that drought and flooding will impact our customers and the environment.
We stand ready to work with government and our communities to set ourselves on a course to a resilient zero-carbon future that leaves nobody behind,” says Anglian Water CEO Peter Simpson.