‘Future generations are relying on us’: Businesses urge leaders to prioritise climate and nature at G7 Summit

Pictured: Carbis Bay

The call to action is being made in the form of a communique from the B7 group, which comprises trade bodies including CBI, BusinessEurope and the Chambers of Commerce for the US and Canada.

While the communique states that it is right for one of the summit’s focuses to be the ongoing response to the public health and economic crises caused by Covid-19, outlining priorities for the vaccine rollout and for removing restrictions from international trade and travel, it warns that other “great challenges of the age” must not fall down the agenda.

Climate, nature and digital transformation are named among these challenges. On climate, the communique urges G7 members to build on long-term net-zero targets with “detailed policy plans and incentives to support industry, workers and communities impacted by the transition”. Indeed, the UK is facing mounting pressure to publish its net-zero roadmap before COP26 as promised.

Such policy frameworks, the B7 is arguing, need to take proper account of the green finance challenge. It is calling on G7 nations to develop “sustainable finance taxonomies”, in which measures such as taxes and risk disclosure rules align with long-term climate goals. The UK has recently been accused of failing to shift tax systems in line with net-zero, but has made progress in mandating climate risk disclosure in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosures (TCFD).

The communique also states that the G7 should “prioritise national policies to support the development of markets that value biodiversity, natural environments and natural carbon sinks, and nature-positive business activity”. This recommendation comes ahead of the 15th biodiversity COP, where the UN will encourage nations to adopt a ‘Paris Style’ deal for nature.

A three-day meeting earlier this week among B7 members was used to develop the communique’s recommendations, which Boris Johnson has said he is “grateful” for.

“The cooperation between business and government has been unprecedented throughout the coronavirus pandemic,” Johnson said.

“We must take that same spirit of collaboration and leadership as we build back better, capitalise on opportunities in trade and technology, and fight climate change and biodiversity loss.”

“From climate change to digitisation, resilience-building to fighting protectionist instincts, the challenges we face are seismic,” CBI director-general Tony Danker summarised.

“ It’s simply not acceptable for business to sit on the sidelines. We must stand up and be counted, using our knowledge, experience and expertise to deliver the solutions that will be felt in communities worldwide.

“As host of the G7 and COP26, the UK has a unique opportunity to be the key ‘global broker’, building consensus and mobilising international action. With economic rulebooks being ripped up around the world, future generations are relying on us to seize the moment.”

The G7 summit is set to take place between 11-13 June. Carbis Bay in Cornwall has been chosen as the host location by the UK.

Sarah George

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