On eve of UN climate summit businesses sign up to growing movement to ‘phase out fossil fuels by 2040s’We Mean Business Coalition
As Dubai readies itself for the start of COP28, more than 200 businesses, including Sony, Roche, Tetra Pak, Virgin Media O2, DHL, EON, WH Smith, Inditex and Coca Cola Europacific Partners, have joined the call to urge world leaders gathering in the UAE to begin the work to phase out fossil fuels.
In an open letter, first released last month and expected to be formally presented to COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber during the summit, 204 companies representing more than $1.5 trillion in annual revenue call on heads of state and government to address the primary cause of climate change: the burning of fossil fuels.
The new signatories join AstraZeneca, ACCIONA, Bayer, BT, Mahindra, IKEA, Iberdrola, JLL, Heineken, Danone, Nestle, Deutsche Telekom, eBay, Electrolux, Royal Philips, Scania Group, Volvo Cars, Signify, Unilever, Vodafone and many others to urge leaders to set clear targets and timelines for phasing down and out unabated fossil fuels, alongside policies enabling the tripling of renewable electricity and doubling of energy efficiency.
The businesses lead a growing call from many groups and leaders for the phasing out of fossil fuels, with the recent addition of voices from 670 scientists, mayors and coalitions working with mayors, and 46 million health professionals, as well as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Pope Francis.
Maria Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition said: “For far too long burning of fossil fuels has been a trumpeting elephant in the negotiating rooms of major global summits. If governments are serious about giving our children a stable planet where people and economies work and thrive, we need to be very serious about managing the phase in of clean solutions – tripling of renewables and doubling energy efficiency by 2030 – and the phase out of fossil fuels by the 2040s.”
Lord Adair Turner, Chair, Energy Transitions Commission said: “If we are to achieve the targets set out in the COP21 Paris Agreement, it is absolutely essential that we significantly reduce coal, oil and gas use. Our analysis has shown the phase-down of fossil fuels is technically and economically feasible – mostly due to the rapid progress of clean technologies. But the required speed of reductions, to limit global warming to 1.5°C, or even to 1.7°C, will require significantly stronger policy support. Finance, governments, corporate energy consumers and oil and gas producers must work together in order to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.”
Ambassador Patricia Espinosa, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), CEO of onepoint5 consultants and We Mean Business Coalition board member said: “We need to understand that this is the defining moment not only of the next generations, but ours. The world is still very far from where we need to be. Bold leaders and transformative decisions will impact everyone’s lives. We need to unite in advocating that it is time to phase out fossil fuels and phase in renewables. It is crucial to recognize that different countries require different action plans, yet we must ensure all of them have the enabling infrastructure, technology and financing for a rapid transition to clean alternatives.”
Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group/IKEA said: “We live in an urgent time when it comes to climate change. Together with hundreds of companies we have signed the Fossil to Clean letter asking our world leaders to take the political responsibility and reach an agreement on phasing out fossil fuels at COP28. This is the most important decade to take big steps, with speed, toward achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group/IKEA.
Nigel Topping, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP26 and Business Champion for the UK Climate Change Committee said: “The time has come for a rapid, just and equitable phase out of fossil fuels. Decisive action at COP28 to triple renewables, double energy efficiency and reduce coal, oil and gas is imperative for a cleaner, safer world. The exponential growth and cost reduction in renewable energy shows us this is possible – now we need bold leadership to get us there.”
Sir Ian Cheshire, former CEO of Kingfisher and Chair of We Mean Business Coalition said: “Last year I joined others in writing to Egypt’s COP President to make clear that the science says unequivocally that if we are to limit warming to 1.5°C, we need to phase out all fossil fuels. We can see that a significant and growing number of companies, big and small, are ready to do the work to support and deliver a just transition away from fossil fuels. COP28 mustn’t miss yet another opportunity to put this issue at the centre of negotiations.”
Joe Franses, VP Sustainability, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners said: “The world is not decarbonising fast enough. That’s why we’re calling for ambitious action to rapidly scale clean energy solutions, to help businesses transition from fossil fuels and meet net zero targets.”
The letter from businesses states: “We call on all Parties attending COP28 to seek outcomes that will lay the groundwork to transform the global energy system towards a full phase-out of unabated fossil fuels and halve emissions this decade.”
And signatories urge all governments meeting in Dubai to:
- Set targets and timelines for the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels in line with 1.5°C, supported by national plans and policies to ensure a just transition for affected workers and communities. Wealthier countries have the responsibility to be first movers and support other countries in their efforts.
- Accelerate the clean energy transition by committing to reach 100% decarbonized power systems by 2035 in advanced economies, and by 2040 for other countries, at the latest.
- Support countries in the Global South in diversifying their energy systems and developing 1.5°C-aligned economic pathways, including through the provision both of finance that does not exacerbate unsustainable sovereign debt, and of capacity-building for just transition planning. This must be part of a broader alignment of public and private financial flows with the objective of an equitable global phase-out of fossil fuels.
- Ensure clear pricing signals through a meaningful price on carbon that reflects the full costs of climate change — and reform and repurpose fossil fuel subsidies toward energy efficiency, renewable energy and other measures to support a people-centred and equitable clean energy transition.
The letter is organised by the We Mean Business Coalition and supported by partners including BSR, CDP, Ceres, Climate Group, CLG Europe, The B Team, WBCSD, CLG UK, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), WWF, Exponential Roadmap Initiative, Global Renewables Alliance and UNICEF.
We Mean Business Coalition recently launched the Fossil to Clean campaign to mobilise businesses and governments for the decisive action needed to phase out fossil fuels and ramp up clean solutions. While recognising the great strides taken to scale-up climate solutions over recent years, the campaign highlights the continued burning of fossil fuels as the primary driver of climate change and demands immediate action from business and government. The letter to UNFCCC leaders is informed by the Fossil to Clean Principles for Global Fossil Fuel Phase-out.
Notes to editors
*Please find a link to the letter and signatories here.
Media enquiries now & at COP28: For interviews & negotiation briefings, please contact Pascale Palmer, Deputy Director, Media & Campaigns, on the ground Nov 28-Dec 13 [email protected] +44 7432 533 080
COP28 op note
We Mean Business Coalition (WMBC) will be on the ground at COP28 in Dubai with specific policy asks and a range of expert spokespeople able to speak to key UNFCCC negotiation issues and wider climate and environment topics.
As in previous years, we will be based at the Business Pavilion in the Blue Zone, where the Coalition will host events and discussions – led by WMBC and wider partners and associates. There are seats and tables at the Business Pavilion and coffee is available. The list of events can be found here.
Spokespeople at COP28
Maria Mendiluce, CEO: Nov 30-Dec 7 (English, Spanish, French)
Rasmus Valanko, Chief Programme Officer: Nov 27-Dec 6 (English, Finnish, Swedish, French)
Andrew Prag, Managing Director, Policy: Nov 30-Dec 10 (English)
Karl Vella, Climate Policy Director: Nov 26- Dec 12 (English, Maltese; working Italian & French)
Dominic Gogol, Deputy Director, Policy: Dec 6-12 (English)
Pamela Jouven, Director, SME Climate Hub: Dec 1-9 (English, French)
*There will be a number of business leaders at COP28 who WMBC will be in contact with and who can speak on key topics.All Press Releases