Businesses, NGOs and cities unite on post-Paris action pledge

Some of the planet's largest businesses, including Microsoft, Diageo, Tesco and Ericsson have formed a 400-strong coalition that has pledged to support the goals of the new global deal established in Paris last week.

The Paris Pledge for Action has been signed by 400 businesses, 120 investors and 150 cities that represent 150 million people. Overall, the signatories are worth $11trn, with businesses, cities, NGOs and trade unions invited to sign the pledge.

The statement reads: “As cities, regions, businesses, investors, civil society groups, trade unions and other signatories, coming from every sector of society and every corner of the world, we realize that dangerous climate change threatens our ability and the ability of future generations to live and thrive in a peaceful and prosperous world.

“We also realize that taking strong action to reduce emissions can not only reduce the risks of climate change but also deliver better growth and sustainable development. As a result, we the undersigned, affirm our strong commitment to a safe and stable climate in which temperature rise is limited to under 2 degrees Celsius.”

The new pledge welcomes the Paris agreement which saw 195 countries agree to keep global temperatures ‘well below 2 degree’ as they battle to make sure emissions peak in the near future.

The declaration signed by Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Vodafone, Nestle and the We Mean Business coalition will see companies take ‘concrete steps’ to act on the Paris agreement in the immediate future.

“We will take concrete steps now, and without waiting for the entry into force of the agreement in 2020, both individually and cooperatively, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a safe level and build resilience against those changes already occurring,” the group said.

“We will look back at this moment as our turning point, when the transition to a low-emission and climate resilient economy became inevitable, irreversible and irresistible. We must, we can and, together, we will solve climate change.”

Sustainable school

Among the signatories were two of the world’s leading business schools. Hult International Business School and Ashridge Executive Education have signed the pledge, promising to offer their research and knowledge to organisations looking to drive towards the steps established in the Paris agreement.

Ashridge Business School was one of the first business schools worldwide to create a Sustainability research centre in 1996. Faculty member Chris Nichols presented edie’s Sustainability Leader of the Year Award to Estelle Brachlianoff of French waste management firm, Veolia at the recent Sustainability Leaders Awards.

Matt Mace

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