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Statement in Response to Amazon Fires:

Businesses call for deeper partnership to build a more forest positive future

Images of the dry season fires in the Brazilian Amazon has generated massive media coverage and raised social consciousness about the existential challenges we face if rainforests continue to perish. They are vital to life on earth cleaning the air, circulating freshwater, storing carbon and providing livelihoods for more than a billion people.  The latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphasises that there is no pathway to keep temperature under 1.5 degrees Celsius without halting deforestation.

Yet even as scientists continue to reveal their true value, forests keep vanishing. In 2017 we lost 18 million acres of primary forest the size of Panama; 2018 erased another area the size of Belgium. We know more than 40% of deforestation globally is the result of expanding agriculture to produce commodities such as soybeans, cattle, palm oil, rubber and cocoa. Commodities that are then turned into products that consumers around the world enjoy from ice cream, to roast chicken to shampoo.

Many of the world’s largest companies have made long term goals to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains. As we near the end of our original commitments, we now understand better the drivers of deforestation and the challenges faced. Building on our collective learnings, we remain committed to a forest-positive future. We see an increasing interest and awareness in sustainability issues and a demand for greater transparency and environmental action from consumers around the world in markets from Buenos Aires to Boston, Berlin to Beijing, and we will play our part.

Reducing deforestation in supply chains is an imperative that must become the norm in global trade. It is essential for governments, private sector and civil society to work together to deliver more transformational change. The Soy Moratorium is a stand out example from Brazil and the more recent Palm Oil Moratorium in Indonesia is also delivering promising results.  In both cases agricultural production has gone up while deforestation has come down.

Still global trade is anchored by local roots. To move forward, we recognise there needs to be far greater involvement and engagement of those at the foundation of the global supply chain: farmers and producers. There is no solution without them.

We welcome and support the statement of the Brazilian Coalition for Climate, Forests & Agriculture and the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development. We are committed to working with responsible Brazilian companies to grow production without deforestation and to stamp out illegality.  No multinational business can risk having illegal products in their supply chains. We would also encourage Brazil to not cede its position as both a leading agricultural exporter and a great environmental steward.

As global businesses we call for deeper partnership. Collective action is hard, but possible: responsive governments must work closely with conscientious businesses and pragmatic civil society partners to address the underlying causes and complex challenges of deforestation.

We believe there is a real value in the multi-stakeholder platforms that enable the different actors to come together to understand different perspectives and the trade-offs associated with alternative pathways.

In September, world leaders will meet in New York for the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit. As business leaders we will attend to push for deeper systemic and transformational change. Fires from the Amazon to the Congo Basin to South East Asia will still be burning. The transition to more sustainable forest, food and land use systems represents an enormous opportunity that no country can afford to ignore or can do alone.

Brazil itself has shown over more than a decade that economic growth does not need to come at the expense of the forest, and it can continue to grow and develop its exports for agricultural commodities.

Of course, actions speak louder than words and we’re all in this together with a shared objective. Our business communities are committed to playing our part and call on supply chain actors, governments, civil society, and the financial sector to summon the collective will needed to balance the needs of people and planet.

Signatories:

Peter Freedman, Managing Director – The Consumer Good Forum (CGF)
Justin Adams, Executive Director – Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA)
Peter Bakker, President and CEO – World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
Nigel Topping, CEO – We Mean Business (WMB)
Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO – The B Team

 
Michael Lamb
Media Relations
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The transition to a zero carbon economy is inevitable. Now is the time for companies to start preparing for a zero carbon future.

Jill Duggan, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

This milestone [Paris] Agreement is an important step in ensuring we can maintain quality of life on our planet for future generations.

Neil McArthur, CEO Arcadis

Now businesses are enabled to work together with governments and communities to shape the policies and take the actions necessary to transition to a low carbon future.

Richard Lancaster, CEO of CLP

We are entering an era of system transformation. Business is already playing a leadership role through global collaboration and low carbon partnership initiatives to drive innovation and structural change.

Peter Bakker, President of WBCSD

The global transition to a low-carbon economy is urgent, inevitable, and accelerating faster than we ever believed possible.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

We are already not only bending the curve of emissions but actually already in a global consensus about the inevitability of the major shift that will occur in this century.

Christiana Figueres

Investors are interested in our total water stewardship as it is directly linked to our business strategy, long-term growth and company acceptance.

Coca-Cola HBC

In anticipation of changing weather patterns and potential shortages of water, we have made water efficiency a key strategic ambition shaping our product range.

Syngenta

Water risks pose social, environmental and ultimately financial risks. Therefore it is obligatory for all sites, affiliates and operations to include a water risk assessment within their overall risk assessment procedures.

Roche Holding

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Anirban Ghosh, CSO, Mahindra Group

We find that many of our suppliers can reduce their energy consumption by 5% or more with basic training and implementation of low-cost/no-cost improvement measures.

Clay Nesler, Vice President for Global Energy & Sustainability at Johnson Controls

Reducing energy consumption will be the primary vehicle in achieving our goals. We are very pleased to be the first property company to sign up to EP100, ensuring we will increase our energy productivity for the benefit of our customers.

Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities

For a company with our global footprint, increasing our energy productivity by two-thirds as we have done since 2002 means that we are spending over US$100 million less in energy bills each year than if our energy productivity had remained constant.

Clay Nesler, Vice President for Global Energy & Sustainability at Johnson Controls

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Marc Engel, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Unilever

Climate change is a huge risk to the long-term supply of safe, high quality ingredients for Nestlé’s products as crop yields fall and production areas shift. We are determined to play our part in taking climate action by purchasing renewable electricity.

Pascal Gréverath, Head of Environmental Sustainability, Nestlé

Renewable energy plays a key role in achieving our ongoing commitment to carbon neutrality, as we aim to use 100% renewable energy to meet our global electricity needs by 2020.

Anthony Cammarata, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs

Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.

Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure, Google

By investing in renewables we can not only reduce our emissions but also future proof the business.

Laurel Peacock, Senior Manager of Sustainability, NRG

We wouldn’t be doing this if it didn’t make business and economic sense… It is the way the market is trending and what our customers are demanding.

Laurel Peacock, Senior Manager of Sustainability, NRG

Our target puts us in a good position vis-à-vis government regulation. We are fully compliant with the UK government’s existing targets, and would be well placed were they to introduce more stringent regulation for companies.

Tom Byrne, Energy Manager at Land Securities

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Andy Howard, Head of Sustainable Research at Schroders

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Rob Walton, Walmart

Ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals help our teams rally around low-carbon innovation. Of course knowing that our goals are backed by the current climate research increases buy-in and commitment at all levels of the company.

Alexandra Palt, Chief Sustainability Officer, L’Oreal

We are working towards building a clean energy future. Expanding the share of renewables is key to addressing the chronic energy crisis our country is facing today.

Ramadas Kamath, Executive Vice President and Head – Infrastructure and Sustainability, Infosys

I believe that companies are, above all, agents of transformation. We all work at an intersection of economic, political, social and environmental dimensions and have either positive or negative impacts on all of them.

Guilherme Leal, B Team Leader and one of the founders of Natura Cosméticos

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Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

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Hannah Jones, Vice President Sustainable Business & Innovation, Nike

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Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business, Marks & Spencer

From a policy perspective, General Motors and businesses in general look for long-term certainty and clarity. When you get the market, the customers, our products and policy all aligned, that’s when you can drive true transformation of an industry.

David Tulauskas, Director Sustainability, General Motors

Two fiscal policy tools can drive decarbonisation: carbon pricing and the end of fossil fuel subsidies. Paying a price for emissions while, at the same time, encouraging the activity that causes them is perverse.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

No CEO would survive if they said climate change is not real

Mike Bloomberg, Former NYS Mayor

Moving capital toward a low-carbon economy protects their beneficiaries’ returns, and is one of the fastest ways to address global warming. Companies take note when investors take action, and when money moves, the world moves too.

Lance Pierce, President of CDP North America

California’s political and business leaders arrived (in Paris) with the clear conviction that climate is not only real, but demands action. Our experience offers a wealth of practical lessons for how to make rapid, sustainable progress toward the clean energy future.

Tony Earley, Chairman, CEO and President, PG&E

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John Bryant, CEO, Kellogg Company

As a global food company, we recognize the significant impacts climate change can have on our business if left unaddressed.

Ken Powell, CEO, General Mills

(Climate change) is absolutely a threat. And that’s why we’re doing all that we’re doing today.

Barry Parkin, CSO, Mars

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Letitia Webster, Senior Director, VF

Low-carbon, sustainable investments are key to our future.

Tom DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller

We want the underlying companies in our ($300 billion) portfolio to be aligned with the transition to a low-carbon global economy.

Anne Simpson, Global Governance Investment Director, CalPERS

If you can do one thing for me today, please, never refer to clean energy as “alternative energy” again.

Michael Liebreich, Founder & Chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance Advisory Board

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Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

There seems to be a tendency to believe that now that the Paris Agreement is done, it is now up to governments. But the real action starts now. The business community and civil society need to push governments so that they will keep this agreement.

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations

The once unthinkable has now become unstoppable. This train is moving. It started at the Paris station, it has to go and move.

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations

The entry into force of the Paris Agreement just ten months after COP21 is a defining moment for the global economy.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

The global transition to a low-carbon economy is urgent, inevitable, and accelerating faster than we ever believed possible.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

We are entering an era of system transformation. Business is already playing a leadership role through global collaboration and low carbon partnership initiatives to drive innovation and structural change.

Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Now businesses are enabled to work together with governments and communities to shape the policies and take the actions necessary to transition to a low carbon future.

Richard Lancaster, CEO of CLP

This milestone Paris Agreement is an important step in ensuring we can maintain quality of life on our planet for future generations.

Neil McArthur, CEO Arcadis

The significance of the Paris Agreement and its universal impact cannot be underestimated. The transition to a zero carbon economy is inevitable. Now is the time for companies to start preparing for a zero carbon future.

Jill Duggan, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

What the Paris Agreement means for business

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