Global companies call on nations to push for ‘well-below’ 2C Paris target

More than 50 global companies including Unilever, M&S and Adidas have called on nations meeting in Paris to discuss climate progress, to phase-out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and create the framework to limit global warming increases to well below 2C.

Head of States and government officials are convening in Paris this week as part of the high-level One Planet summit hosted by French President Emanuel Macron. As delegates meet in the French capital, 54 global companies, with annual revenues of €676bn, have called on world leaders to accelerate climate action.

The signatories of the declaration, including H&M, Diageo, Virgin and Allianz, have called on countries to submit revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that are at “ambitious, comparable levels” sufficient to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The declaration includes calls for fossil fuel subsidies to be realigned towards low-carbon investment opportunities and the creation of a carbon price to incentivise investors and companies to create business models based on climate science geared towards a well-below 2C pathway.

“Decisive international climate protection measures are indispensable,” the statement reads. “Global decarbonisation is already on the way and needs to be accelerated in the coming years – and those who lead the way in this development can significantly shape transformation and benefit most from the added value of the future low-carbon economy.

“We call for framework conditions that lay the foundation for limiting the global rise in temperature to well below 2C, and which enable us to actively contribute to achieving this goal. We aim for a low-carbon economy that is energy-efficient and based on renewable energy in all sectors. This will spark a wave of innovation and business creation, thereby securing jobs and prosperity.”

The statement calls on G20 nations, accountable for nearly three-quarters of global emissions, to lead the transformation by “initiating and implementing” and “global paradigm shift” on an energy transition. The signatories of the statement called on the G20 nations to enable businesses to contribute to regulatory frameworks that accelerate decarbonisation actions.

Climate-related disclosures

Notably, the signatories have called on governments to consider the climate risks through the recommendations of the Climate-related Financial Disclosures Task Force (TCFD). Recommendations laid out by the taskforce include how businesses can include climate-related information alongside traditional financial filings.

“We – the companies that have signed this declaration – reaffirm our intention to proactively and collectively combat climate change through our business activities and through national and international strategies,” the statement reads. “In addition to our own measures and instruments, we use the opportunities provided by frameworks for corporate climate protection, such as internal CO2 prices, the inclusion of TCFD recommendations in our own reporting and so-called science-based targets.”

The statement was penned just days after the chief financial officers from organisations representing more than $1.5trn in combined total assets, including Unilever, Tata Steel and Tesco, signed a “statement of support” for the TCFD recommendations, through The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S).

A total of 37 chief financial officers, 13 chief executives of accounting bodies and 17 chairs of pension funds have signed the support statement, and have called on others to improve disclosure practices.

Matt Mace

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