New Climate Leadership to Realize the Paris Vision

September 20, 2017
  • Aron Cramer portrait

    Aron Cramer

    President and CEO, BSR

  • David Wei portrait

    David Wei

    Managing Director, Climate and Nature, BSR

As world leaders gather in New York for the UN General Assembly and Climate Week NYC, we are excited to discuss how we can all contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): to end poverty, protect the planet, and secure shared prosperity.

Since the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement were adopted in 2015, we have seen a wide range of actors around the globe commit to bold action in support of this vision. Although the United States government indicated its intent earlier this year to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, in their G20 Declaration this year, “the Leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible.”   

Back in May, we expressed our confidence that the business community would continue to lead on climate action, realizing the Paris vision of a resilient, low-carbon economy that sparks innovation, creates jobs, and puts the world on a safer, more prosperous path. In fact, business leadership has been on display since the U.S. announcement, and it is especially visible this week. Through the We Are Still In declaration, 2,300 American businesses, investors, and other actors have re-committed to delivering on the promise of the Paris Agreement. America’s Pledge, led by California Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg, is an effort to quantify and aggregate the impact of these and other American actors implementing emissions reductions and building climate resilience on the ground.

It’s exciting to see more companies engaged on climate than ever before, and individual companies are also making commitments on an unprecedented scale. Walmart’s Project Gigaton aims to remove one billion tons of emissions from its supply chain, and HPE’s supply chain management program seeks to avoid 100 million tons of emissions. Climate action up and down and value chain is fast becoming a hallmark of leadership: General Mills has a 28 percent emissions reduction target by 2025 from “farm to fork to landfill,” Carlsberg has a 2030 target to reduce emissions “beer in hand” by 30 percent, and Mars recently announced a 2025 target to reduce emissions by 27 percent across its value chain as part of its Sustainable in a Generation Plan. These goals not only align with the latest science on what is necessary to keep warming well below 2°C—they represent commitments to collaborate with suppliers and customers to create the climate future we need.

Equally important is leadership in assessing and disclosing climate risks and building resilience to these risks, in recognition of the climate impacts we now face. Yesterday, the We Mean Business coalition, of which BSR is a proud founding partner, launched a commitment to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. Ten companies across seven sectors have become the first to commit to disclose information about the financial implications of their climate-related risks and opportunities.

This new climate leadership, and many other examples like it, will be on display a year from now at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit convened by Governor Brown. BSR is very pleased to serve on the Steering Committee of the Summit as the representative of the business community, and we will create channels for business input as plans for this event evolve. 

The 2018 Global Climate Action Summit will demonstrate how business, investors, states and regions, cities, civil society, and citizens are implementing climate action, inspiring new ambition, and creating an inclusive economy that works for everyone. It will be an opportunity for new climate leadership to shine, and to build momentum for the 2018 UN Climate Conference, when governments will take stock of the world’s progress towards the Paris goals and begin preparations to update their own targets in 2020.

To bring the Paris vision to life, it’s essential that we work together across industries, sectors, and borders. We are thrilled to represent business at next year’s Summit and excited to see this trend of bold, collaborative leadership continue. 

This week, we are featuring several blog posts about the role of collaboration in shaping our climate future. Follow @BSRnews on Twitter for updates from Global Goals Week and Climate Week NYC; see our recent blog post for the full list of where we’ll be.

Let’s talk about how BSR can help you to transform your business and achieve your sustainability goals.

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