COP21 signing ceremony: 100 corporations call for clear policies and swift actions
IKEA, Starbucks and Unilever are among more than 100 global companies that have expressed support for the Paris climate change agreement to be enshrined into national law as a matter of urgency, on the eve of the official COP21 signing ceremony in New York.
The collection of 110 businesses and organisations, brought together by sustainability organization Ceres and green NGO WWF, have released a statement highlighting the numerous benefits of investment in the global carbon economy such as clarity for economic decision-makers and a boost in confidence for investors worldwide.
In the build-up to the signing ceromony at UN headquarters tomorrow, the signatories pledged to do their part to “realise [the Paris Climate Agreement’s] vision of a global economy that limits global temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius.”
The statement reads: “Implementing the Paris Agreement will enable and encourage businesses and investors to turn the billions of dollars in low-carbon investments we have seen so far into the trillions the world needs to bring clean energy and prosperity to all. We join leaders around the world as we welcome the Paris Agreement and leverage this historic economic opportunity to tackle climate change through a just transition to a clean-energy economy."
IKEA chief sustainability officer Steve Howard - one of the signatories - said: “The Paris Agreement represents a turning point for business. It is the beginning of the long-term framework needed for business to transform their operations and invest in low carbon products and services for the future.
“Now it is time to translate this framework into clear policies and actions. At IKEA, we are committed to do our part. We will continue to invest in renewable energy and to transform our business. By 2020 we will produce as much renewable energy as the energy we consume in our own operations.”
This statement comes just before 150 world leaders are expected to ratify the historic Paris COP21 deal agreed last December which included a “legally-binding" agreement to keep global warming "well below 2C".
With America being one of the world's largest carbon emitters, the business coalition has also underlined the need for swift action on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan which would reduce carbon pollution from electric power plants in the US by 30% by 2030
The call from the world’s leading companies governments to quickly sign and act upon the Paris Agreement was repeated earlier this week with a “rallying cry” by a number of global investor groups supporting an early entry into force of the deal as early as next year. Six leading sustainable investment groups – collectively representing over $24tr of assets – published a letter to leaders of the world’s largest economies, saying that big investor groups are willing to support countries with their domestic efforts to cut emissions and introduce ambitious climate policies.
Letter signatory CDP chief executive Paul Simpson said: “This rallying cry shows an unequivocal business and financial imperative for governments to take concrete action from the momentous political will represented by the Paris Agreement.
“Those countries who are major emitters are also some of those with most to gain from prompt action to curb the threat of climate change because of the massive impacts it could have, not just on agricultural systems, transport or energy infrastructure but on bottom lines. CDP’s investor research shows clearly that the best prepared investors and companies will be the ones to gain competitive advantage.”
Faith leaders have also called for urgency when it comes to ratifying the Agreement, completing a triumvirate of communities urging ambitious climate action in the space of a week. The 'Interfaith Climate Change Statement to World Leaders', produced by eminent religious leaders and groups, outlines six key points for national governments to consider including calls for global fossil fuel divestment, reinvestment in renewables and low carbon solutions and emissions to peak by 2020.
That statement reads: “We are united in our support for the full and ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement and of all other decisions adopted at COP 21. To achieve the 1.5C goal, governments must accelerate climate action before 2020 and also greatly increase the level of ambition of the future Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs), rapidly converting them into national policies, law and programmes.
“These commitments must be defined by increasing ambition outlined in national road-maps on how to transform our societies and economies by 2050 and clearly integrated into national development plans.”
To enter into force, the Paris Agreement must be ratified by at least 55 countries - representing 55% of global emissions. US president Obama and China’s President Xi - representing countries worth 38% of emissions - have already announced their participation at the event, which officially opens a signing period that ends on April 21, 2017 .
Stay tuned for edie on Friday (22 April) for a live blog on the Paris signing ceremony, with updates being provided throughout the day.