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Policy

Businesses are acting on climate. Paired with clear ambitious government policies, we can achieve a prosperous future in which global warming is limited to 1.5ºC.

The latest science makes it clear that reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is possible and necessary to achieve the Paris Agreement’s 1.5ºC goal. Recent studies and real economy trends demonstrate that a just transition to a resilient, zero-carbon future will have many benefits for our economies and societies.

Building a prosperous, net zero-carbon economy by 2050 requires a transformation of unprecedented pace and scale. A growing body of evidence makes it clear that such a transition is achievable, but only with decisive business leadership supported by ambitious government policies.

Clear and consistent government policies that drive the full decarbonization of every system of the economy are critical to accelerate progress towards the zero-carbon economies of the future. These positively reinforcing Ambition Loops between governments and businesses will help drive the system-wide change needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and create a resilient, just, zero-carbon future, faster.

Businesses around the world are calling for governments to enact stronger policies and commit to raising their ambition in key multilateral moments and national policymaking processes. These commitments give businesses the clarity and confidence they need to invest in the technologies and markets for the zero-carbon future.

Leading companies call for bold policy ambition from G7 countries

Net-zero by 2050

KEY POLICIES TO ACCELERATE THE TRANSITION TO NET-ZERO BY 2050

Businesses look to governments to provide bold targets and clear timelines to give them the clarity and confidence they need to put forward even more ambitious commitments of their own, which in turn will help governments to further strengthen and enhance national climate policies.

  • Commit to achieving a just transition to economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
  • Strengthen nationally determined contributions and 2030 targets in line with a 1.5ºC trajectory.
  • Lay out national policies, plans and laws to enable the achievement of these targets.

 

RESILIENT, JUST, ZERO CARBON ECONOMIES

To support a successful transition across the whole economy to a just and prosperous zero-carbon future, markets need full information on climate risks and opportunities and clear pricing signals that shift global financial flows away from polluting investments and toward zero-carbon business models. The social impacts of the transition must be addressed and policies put in place to adapt to the climate impacts we already face, leaving no one behind.

  • Facilitate the integration of climate-risk disclosure into financial decision making by promoting the implementation of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ (TCFD) recommendations through regulation.
  • Phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and set strong and effective carbon pricing policies.
  • Support a just, fair and inclusive transition to address job displacement in high-emitting sectors.
  • Build resilience strategies that address physical climate risks for cities and communities that support corporate value chains across the globe.

 

ZERO CARBON TRANSPORT

To support a successful transition to zero-carbon transport, governments should put an end to internal combustion engine sales by 2030.

  • Set increasing sales targets for electric vehicles, that progress towards a clear time-bound commitment to end the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles.
  • Implement increasingly stringent emissions standards for all road vehicles.
  • Support fiscal incentives for electric vehicles.
  • Invest in electric vehicle infrastructure.

 

ZERO CARBON POWER

To enable a successful transition to 100% zero-carbon power systems by 2050, policy makers need to support renewable energy deployment, and a full phase out of coal-power globally by 2040.

  • Enact national renewable energy and 100% clean power targets.
  • Enable corporate procurement of renewables.
  • Establish a moratorium on new coal power and new coal finance.
  • Adopt a coal phase-out date and develop plans to transition to renewable energy.

 

ZERO CARBON BUILT ENVIRONMENT

To achieve net-zero emissions across the built environment lifecycle by 2050, policy makers need to commit to all new buildings operating at net-zero by 2030 and all buildings operating at net zero by 2050, and they must ensure embodied carbon in building materials is reduced by 40% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.

  • Develop and implement national roadmaps for the building sector in line with these 2030 and 2050 net-zero goals.
  • Introduce building codes for new and retrofit buildings that align with net-zero goals.
  • Incentivise retrofits.
  • Put public and private procurement standards in place to drive demand for zero carbon materials such as cement, steel and aluminium.

 

ZERO CARBON INDUSTRY

To achieve a successful transition to net-zero heavy industry by 2050, policy makers need to deliver clear roadmaps.

  • Set a clear industry roadmap with interim targets and milestones to net-zero by 2050.
  • Put in place clear policies and standards to drive energy and materials efficiency and circularity.
  • Ensure public support for research, development and deployment of new technologies.
  • Facilitate financing and public procurement to create demand and accelerate private sector investments to deploy proven tech at scale.
  • For more detail on policy recommendations in transitioning heavy industry to net-zero, see the Energy Transition Commission’s Mission Possible materials.

 

FOOD AND LAND 

To achieve a successful transition to a land system that supports a net-zero carbon economy, policy makers need to help protect, restore and enhance natural systems to ensure ecosystems and landscapes are sustainably managed.

  • Support climate-smart agricultural practices and end deforestation.
  • Align the development, climate and nature agendas to recognise that a sustainable development and the fight against climate change cannot be won without nature protection being addressed as a cornerstone.
  • For more detail on policy recommendations for this system, see the Business for Nature coalition’s materials.

Business is calling for action

BUSINESS IS CALLING FOR AMBITIOUS, LONG-TERM, CLEAR POLICIES FROM GOVERNMENTS

Businesses around the world are calling for governments to set bold, ambitious climate targets and enact stronger, clear policies to achieve them. These targets and policies give businesses the clarity and confidence they need to invest in and build the technologies, markets, and business models of the zero-carbon future.

Speak to our policy team

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Resources

WMB POLICY RESOURCES

  • The Ambition Loop
    The Ambition Loop report by United Nations Global Compact, the We Mean Business coalition and World Resources Institute showcases specific examples where strong national policy measures built upon business leadership are spurring additional investments and climate action. Where policies are clear and strong, businesses are stepping up to do more and the pace of change is accelerating.
  • Climate Ambition Benchmarks
    The Climate Ambition Benchmarks project is a joint initiative of the ClimateWorks Foundation, the European Climate Foundation and the We Mean Business coalition. The project seeks to break down the overall goal of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5°C, into a set of intermediate sectoral benchmarks, to demonstrate what can and must be achieved in key systems and geographies to be on track.
  • Forging a carbon-neutral heavy industry by 2050: How Europe can seize the opportunity
    This briefing synthesises some of the latest thinking around the challenges and opportunities involved in decarbonising European heavy industry. It brings together the key findings from recent reports on industrial transformation, such as those by Material Economics and the Energy Transitions Commission, on what is technologically possible and financially feasible. 
  • WMB Policy Z-Card: COP25
    Leaders at the 25th UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) must urgently set clear policies and targets to help companies deliver the zero-carbon transition at the pace required. Read our infographic summary of what business is calling for at COP25.

We Mean Business Policy Statements:

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