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Bold climate policy drives decisive business action

The transition to a net-zero economy has begun. It’s achievable and brings significant benefits.



Business advocacy at COP26:

Representing hundreds of businesses, we went to COP26 with three policy-related documents:

  1. The Open Letter to G20 leaders was signed by almost 800 companies with asks on 1.5ºC alignment, energy and finance.
  2. The COP26 Asks from Business document details the specific requests for negotiators on behalf of businesses at COP26 and complements.
  3. A broader set of Policy Asks for Creating a Net-Zero World, called for transformation of the economy across major systems. 

We Mean Business Coalition hosted the Business Pavilion for Climate Leadership at COP26 and will be applying to host a pavilion at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.



Businesses are calling for bold policy ambition in key areas:

Economies for People and Nature

Now is the time for all countries to commit to the 1.5°C trajectory, translate global goals to policies and deliver climate action. Ensuring a green recovery from COVID-19 will help to drive sustainable economic growth, build resilience and solidarity, and create new jobs as part of a just transition.

Business calls on government to:

Commit to achieving economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and reversing nature loss by 2030.

Put forward strengthened, high quality Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in line with a 1.5°C trajectory to halve global emissions by 2030.

Develop policies, implementation plans and laws across the economy that reach NDC and net-zero targets and are nature positive.

Develop policies that ensure a just transition that is fair, respects the needs of all people and countries, and builds a more inclusive economy.

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To finance the transition, markets need full information on climate risks and opportunities, clear pricing signals and policies, and public climate finance support. Right now, it is important that money spent to help countries recover from the COVID-19 pandemic goes towards a green recovery to stimulate net-zero products, services and business models.

Business calls on government to:

Deliver on the commitment by developed countries of at least $100B per year in support of climate action by developing countries.

Put a meaningful price on carbon and support robust Article 6 rules that ensure environmental integrity and avoid double counting.

Make climate-related financial disclosure mandatory for corporations, in line with the TCFD recommendations.

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A New Energy Market

Cutting emissions by more than 50% by 2030 and achieving a net-zero economy requires radical transformation across all sectors, in particular the energy system. Despite the remarkable uptake of renewable energy, fossil fuels still account for a majority of energy demand and divestment is not happening fast enough. This underscores the need to accelerate the deployment of low-carbon fuels and technologies at scale.


Commit to reaching 100% decarbonized power systems by 2040, at the latest.

End coal financing immediately, end coal exports by 2025, and phase out the use of coal by 2030 for OECD countries, and 2040 for non-OECD countries, at the latest.

Lay out roadmaps by 2022 to phase out ALL fossil fuel subsidies and financing by 2025 at the latest.

Invest in energy efficiency solutions and smart grid systems that supports the uptake of renewable energy.

Commit to public procurement and stimulate corporate procurement of renewables.

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The Road to Clean Transport

The way we move people and goods needs radical change. The transition from polluting internal combustion engines to zero emission vehicles, ships and airplanes is accelerating, but not fast enough. More is needed to achieve zero emission multi-modal freight transport. A holistic approach with policies and programs that drive innovation, enable uptake of solutions, and scale infrastructure can get us there. A parallel decarbonization of the power sector is vital to ensure net-zero transport.


Implement increasingly stringent emission standards for vehicles, ships and airplanes.

Continue to promote fuel efficiency and the shift to low and zero emission transport modes.

Commit to 100% sales of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) for new light-duty vehicles by 2035, and by 2040 for new heavy-duty vehicles, at the latest.

Invest in infrastructure for reliable and seamless EV charging for all.

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A Pathway for Industry

Heavy industry is responsible for over 20% of global emissions, with steel, cement and chemicals being the top emitting sectors and among the hardest to decarbonize. Decarbonization must address these sectors’ reliance on fossil fuels for feedstock and heat, and the need for their products to continue to meet stringent quality criteria. Inter-connected decarbonization strategies exist: energy efficiency and broad deployment of low carbon heat; increasing demand for zero carbon materials and products; and deployment of circular economy approaches; innovation and mass scale deployment of zero emissions production processes. With the right policy support, these strategies are economically and technically feasible as well as offering other social, public health and environmental benefits in addition.

Business calls on governments to:

Put industry roadmaps in place, with interim targets and milestones to net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

Facilitate financing and R&D, demonstration and deployment of zero emissions technologies to accelerate public and private sector investment.

Use public procurement, life cycle carbon accounting, standard setting and labelling to drive demand for zero emissions materials, and improve the efficient use, reuse and circularity of materials.

Combine ambitious carbon pricing instruments with focused regulatory action to drive investment in hard to abate sectors, with provisions for preventing unfair competition and carbon leakage.

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A Sustainable Built Environment

Buildings and infrastructure represent almost 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions coming from their use (operational emissions) and construction (embodied emissions). They are also exposed to impacts from climate change, such as extreme weather, fires and rising sea levels. Efforts to halve emissions by 2030, reach a net zero built environment by 2050 at the latest, and increase resilience, must cover the full life cycle of existing and new assets: design, construction, operation and dismantling. National and local governments must take the lead to future proof our built environment and lock in green growth and create jobs in the process. Collaboration with the private sector is key. Action and collaboration are needed immediately from all stakeholders to achieve the paradigm shift to a net-zero and resilient built environment.

Business calls on governments to:

Define and include in NDCs whole life (operational and embodied carbon) building decarbonization targets, with tangible policies, measures and implementation mechanisms, aligned with at least halving building emissions by 2030 and. net zero carbon across the full lifecycle by 2050.

Develop national decarbonization and resilience roadmaps to ensure that, the life carbon footprint of built structures is reduced toward net-zero emissions, all new buildings operate at net zero by 2030, and halve their overall carbon footprint by 2030.

Implement mandatory, performance-based building energy codes addressing both operational and embodied carbon, as well as measures to enhance building resilience.

Increase deep renovation rates of the existing building stock to 3% per year by 2030 and beyond, focusing on heating and cooling systems, insulation and building materials.

Align public funding, public procurement and economic recovery spending for buildings and infrastructure with commitments to net zero, increasing resilience and upskilling the workforce. Make building decarbonization and resilience a central criterion for public procurement related to buildings and construction.

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Protecting Land and Nature

Biodiversity loss and environmental degradation are both accelerated by climate change and exacerbate its impacts. Addressing climate change strengthens nature’s ability to absorb carbon and adapt to climate impacts. Nature-based solutions only receive 5% of global public mitigation finance, despite the potential to abate 30% of greenhouse gases by 2030 to achieve a 1.5°C pathway. The interlinked crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are most effectively solved if addressed in tandem. Resilient economies and thriving businesses also rely on nature as more than half of the world’s GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature.

Tackling these issues together will better enable the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build an equitable, net-zero, nature positive economy. See our our integrated policy recommendations with Business for Nature for further detail.


Deliver policies now to reverse nature loss and degradation and turn forests and other land uses into a net carbon sink globally by 2030.

Eliminate commodity-driven deforestation by 2025 through trade policies developed in collaboration between producer and demand-side countries, aligned with the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) dialogue.

Repurpose more than US$700 billion of annual public subsidies for agriculture by integrating climate and biodiversity objectives, and eliminate subsidies that drive harmful land-use change and ecosystem degradation.

Ensure that by 2025 the share of international climate finance that is channelled to high quality nature-based solutions better reflects its 30% abatement potential, while catalyzing private sector investments through Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

Align climate policy with the Convention on Biological Diversity by establishing ambitious and mutually beneficial targets, including to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 to achieve an equitable, net-zero and nature positive world.

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Policy instructions for building a net-zero world

Bold climate policy drives decisive business actions – policies that give clarity and certainty will encourage more companies to deliver towards our 2030 goals.

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