World Economic Forum calls on business chiefs to set net-zero targets

All business leaders and companies attending the World Economic Forum in Davos this week have been asked to make public commitments to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.

More than 3,000 business leaders, policymakers, thought leaders and celebrities are due to gather in Switzerland for the Forum this week

More than 3,000 business leaders, policymakers, thought leaders and celebrities are due to gather in Switzerland for the Forum this week

In a letter from the Forum's Founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab and the heads of Bank of America and Royal DSM Brian Moynihan and Feike Sijbesma, businesses have been urged to respond to climate science through the setting of a net-zero target.

The Forum notes that emissions are increasing by 1.5% annually, far off the 3-6% required annual reduction between now and 2030 to limit global warming to at least 2C, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“The opportunity and the need for companies and investors to show leadership on climate change is more eminent than ever before, “the letter states. “Consequently, as a leader of one of the world’s foremost global companies and a valued partner of the World Economic Forum, we encourage you to use the opportunity of your upcoming participation to make a commitment to act on climate change.

“If you have not done so already, we invite you to set a target to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner.”

The letter is accompanied by recommendations for companies to publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions and disclose climate-related financial risks and impacts. It also calls on companies setting targets up to 2050 to include a “milestone target” set for 2030.

The call for action comes one week after the World Economic Forum claimed that the five biggest risks to humanity and the planet in terms of likelihood and severity are climate-related.

The analysis has ranked climate-related risks above economic risks across the board for the first time in the history of the annual report. The analysis ranked the top five risks as extreme weather events; failures at business and government level to adapt to, and mitigate, climate change; major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse; major natural disasters and human-made damage such as oil spills and waste crime.

As the top ten list continues, no risks classed as solely economic are included.

Destination Davos

More than 3,000 business leaders, policymakers, thought leaders and celebrities are due to gather in Switzerland for the Forum this week.

The aim of the summit is to co-create solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental and socio-economic challenges and to give attendees a platform on which to make fresh announcements or commitments in these fields.

For 2020, the shift from fossil fuels to clean energy, and the role of finance in this transition, is being widely slated as a key focus, as these are the issues which Greta Thunberg has said she will discuss.

Matt Mace



Tags

bank | gas | greenhouse gas emissions | ipcc | Corporate Social Responsibility | net-zero

Topics

CSR & ethics


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