Building on the Paris Agreement with a business and climate summit
The Paris Agreement target of net-zero emissions across the world by the second half of the century now faces the challenge of implementation. International businesses will come together once again with policymakers later this month as the 2016 Business & Climate Summit sets out “how business can and must take advantage of a swift transition to a climate resilient, low-carbon economy.”
Taking place on June 28-29 in London’s financial center, it will be attended by 1,000 global CEOs, investors and politicians.
“Once again, business leaders and policymakers will discuss the best options, create frameworks for action, and build the ambition that’s needed to get us on a sub-2 degrees path,” said Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group. It is the not-for-profit organization which is convening the summit alongside the We Mean Business coalition, representing 400 companies with revenues of $8 trillion and 180 investors managing $20.7 trillion in assets which has made many commitments on action to date. The summit also has the support of a number of high-profile international organizations.
Leading business figures attending the summit include Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman & CEO of Total SA (NYSE: TOT), who wants the French oil and gas major to have a fifth of its assets invested in invested in low carbon business within 20 years, as part of a radical reshaping of the group, according to a recent report in the Financial Times.
The paper said the Total SA CEO wants to ramp up investment in renewable energy, as well as energy storage and energy efficiency businesses, in response to shifting energy demand.
Mr Pouyanné told the FT, “The energy world is evolving?…?There are new areas over the next 20 years beyond oil and gas that we think can be profitable.” He also said big investors such as BlackRock and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund had been asking the group to lay out its long-term plan on energy.
Michel Madelain, Vice Chairman Investors Serviceat Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO), Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman ENGIE SA (EPA:ENGI), Mahendra Singhi, Group CEO Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd, and Jean-Dominique Senard, CEO Michelin (EPA:ML) are all scheduled to speak at the summit. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of UNFCCC will also be there in her last international speaking engagement in her current role.
The Summit is split over two days, with the focus on the first day - June 28 - on implementing the Paris Agreement, what the Agreement means for business and how the private sector can lead the way back to a sub-2 degree pathway. On the second day the focus will be on finance and how trillions of dollars of investment can be unlocked to fund the transition to a low carbon economy.
Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever (LON:ULVR), wrote in the Huffington Post last week (June 2), “It’s five months since the world’s leaders adopted the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. In doing so they sent a powerful signal that the world wants to stay below 2 degrees warming and is on a path to decarbonize our economies.”
He went on to write,“Yet the transition world leaders signaled to a sustainable, low-carbon economy is not only necessary and overdue - it is also underway. And those who fail to get on board now risk losing out on what I believe will be the greatest growth opportunity the world has ever known.”
The summit organizers say they will release the names of more speakers in the next few weeks.
Dina Medland is an independent writer, editor and commentator with a strong focus on issues around corporate governance, ethics, the workings of the boardroom and sustainable business. She is on the team of contributors to @ForbesEurope and is an ex-Financial Times staff member who has been a regular contributor in recent years. Further details about her background and a portfolio of work – including her commercially sponsored blog ‘Board Talk’ are available on her website http://www.dinamedland.com