Report: Nations must engage with private sector to achieve Paris Agreement

GRI and CDP believe that better engagement with the private sectors will create a new mindset for businesses to explore their own climate targets

The Engaging business in the NDCs whitepaper was released today (11 July), noting the need for policymakers and businesses to improve dialogues and work more closely in order to improve how the private sector can contribute to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which set out how each nation plans to cut emissions and adapt to the challenges of climate change.

The publication sets out key recommendations for policymakers to improve business contributions. When setting sectoral emissions targets, for example, policy should “explicitly mention what the expected contribution from the private sector is to reach the target”. Other recommendations include the creation of a tracking system to map business contributions using data from corporate sustainability reports and climate disclosures.

GRI’s chief external affairs officer, Peter Paul van de Wijs said: “To meet the challenging goals in the Paris Agreement, governments alone cannot achieve the changes required. Businesses also have a crucial role, which is why we need clarity on each other’s contribution.

“Around the world, we are seeing great examples of businesses collaborating in the NDCs and we need this good practice to grow. Our briefing paper will help policymakers and companies focus on where they can do more to work together at the national level, playing their part in securing a global solution.”

GRI and CDP believe that better engagement with the private sectors will create a new mindset for businesses to explore their own climate targets. However, the report claims that business “has the space and opportunity to set more ambitious targets”, namely through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Operationalise contributions

More than half of the NDCs submitted under the Paris Agreement involved consultations with the private sector, but details on private sector contributions to the targets were not mentioned in submissions.

However, there are some examples of strong private sector consideration from nations. Belize, for example, identified education, research, legislation, and finance in its NDC, all of which can be impacted by the private sector. In developing economies, the mobilisation of private finance is viewed as crucial to financing NDCs.

Elsewhere, Colombia has outlined plans to enhance engagement and action with the private sector on both the low-carbon transition and the country’s approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With the Katowice Climate Package agreed at COP24, nations are now looking to “operationalise” the Paris Agreement, the report notes. GRI and CDP recommend that post-2020, governments work to include the whitepaper recommendation to ensure that business plays a key role in delivering the Paris Agreement.

Matt Mace

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