More than 50 corporate giants sign landmark new climate lobbying agreement
Unilever and Ikea’s parent company Ingka Group are among the signatories of a new declaration on climate-related lobbying, indicating that they will push trade associations and industry groups to advocate only for Paris-Agreement-aligned policy.
The new Action Declaration on Climate Policy Engagement is being coordinated by Corporate Knights, a media and research organisation specialising in corporate sustainability. It has, upon its launch today, been supported by more than 50 firms which collectively represent some $900bn of annual revenue.
The overarching commitment is for the companies to use all of their influence to speed up, rather than stall, climate-related policy. This covers direct engagement with policymakers and indirect engagement.
A specific inclusion in the Action Declaration is engagement with trade bodies, industry associations and similar groups. Corporations have often been accused of setting their own ambitious targets on environmental issues, but remaining members of organisations that lobby against policies that would facilitate broader progress. Organisations including InfluenceMap track these discrepancies.
Action Declaration signatories are required to report, by the end of 2023, on the climate-related policy priorities of the ‘major’ membership bodies they participate in. They should report on whether their activities are Paris-aligned and, if not, what their next steps will be. Companies will be able to choose their reporting system in the first instance.
Companies from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, the US, China, India and Brazil are represented among the signatories. They include City Developments Limited (CDL), H&M Group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, McCormick & Company, Tech Mahindra, Unilever and Ingka Group.
The World Economic Forum’s head of climate Action Antonia Gawel said the Action Declaration is “precisely the kind of united front that governments need to see coming from the private sector.”
Gawel said: “Momentum is building within the private sector as more companies demonstrate a growing commitment not only to address climate change, but to act in tandem with governments to formulate and implement more ambitious climate policies. COP27 will provide a valuable forum for business leaders to spotlight one of the biggest issues impacting the pace of climate action – lobbying against positive climate policy and regulation. Business must lead to actively support much-needed government action and actively speak out against actions that counter progress.”
COP27 is taking place in Egypt until 17 November. You can follow edie’s coverage here.
Earlier this year, investor networks that collectively represent more than 3,800 members with more than $130trn (£866bn) of assets under management launched a new standard designed to stop corporates from lobbying to “delay, dilute and block” action in line with climate science.
The ‘Global Standard on Responsible Climate Lobbying’ requires investors to publicly disclose all alliances and coalitions they participate in or collaborate with on climate-related lobbying. As well as providing names, they must disclose how much they pay them annually and whether members are represented on their boards and committees.