Business has a critical role to play in shaping a low-carbon future. This role starts with the private sector mobilizing around the COP21 negotiations, committing to climate action, and, in return, asking for a pragmatic and ambitious Paris climate agreement.

COP21 holds many opportunities for business to demonstrate that it can “meet its moment” and help implement the Paris agreement to ensure the transition to a low-carbon economy.

At BSR, we believe there are three ways our member companies and partners can most effectively engage at COP21.

1. Learn about the stakes.

To meet the challenges ahead, business leaders should understand how climate change affects their companies’ operations and supply chains and learn how the COP21 negotiations will change the environment after Paris. Companies should:

  • Learn about the climate science and familiarize themselves with the concrete impacts of climate change. For a primer, the IPCC “Climate Science Business Briefings” provide short, sector-specific information (available in multiple languages) translating the latest climate science in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) for the business community. Companies can also review BSR’s action agenda for private-sector leadership and our framework for building climate-resilient supply chains.
  • Join BSR’s “Road Through Paris” webinars to learn about the nuts and bolts of COP21 climate policy and action. Recordings for the previous briefings are here.
  • Subscribe to BSR’s COP21 Daily Dispatch, a special daily newsletter published during the COP21 climate negotiations November 30-December 11, which will offer BSR’s insights on the policy negotiations and implications for business. The We Mean Business coalition will also run the Bottom Line, a daily newsletter offering the business perspective on the negotiations’ proceedings. 

2. Make ambitious climate commitments, share them, and take concrete action.

Companies can seize important opportunities to shape the outcome of COP21 by demonstrating strong commitments, sending clear signals to policymakers, and preparing to act on the likely results. Companies can record their commitments through:

  • The “Lima-Paris Action Agenda,” one of the four pillars of the Paris outcome defined by the French COP21 presidency, which provides a platform for companies, cities, subnational regions, and investors to promote their actions, commitments, and results in the run up to COP21. All commitments are registered in the online tool NAZCA.
  • The We Mean Business “Take Action” campaign, dedicated to the private sector, which is calling companies and investors to commit to one or more of 11 initiatives. These include adopting a science-based emissions-reduction target, reducing short-lived climate pollutants, or procuring 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources (all commitments will automatically be added to the NAZCA). So far, We Mean Business has harnessed the power of more than 400 companies and investors toward ambitious climate action.
  • ​The Paris Pledge for Action, to signal support for a new universal climate agreement and demonstrate a pledge to help implement it, through meeting and exceeding the objectives.

3. Go to Paris to join the discussions, network with peers, and engage in action.

Companies can engage in many ways onsite and alongside COP21. These include organizing events, speaking at events organized by others, arranging bilateral meetings, and networking at events and business hubs.

To help business advocate for a low-carbon economy, the We Mean Business coalition will equip business leaders with a functional script to use at events and in all their interactions in Paris. This script will be made available for businesses to translate their calls for climate action into specific asks that are both pragmatic and ambitious—and to shape the new agreement in a manner that promotes both business success and climate ambition.

Here is a list of select events BSR is tracking:

At the COP21 site, Paris-Le Bourget (see a map of the space here):

Within the Blue Zone (where a UN accreditation badge is required), business and civil society will hold side events and exhibits. See the official side event program.

  • December 5: As part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, a high-level meeting on climate action, or “Action Day,” will showcase non-state actor initiatives. There will also be related daily thematic focuses December 1-8 (see the calendar).
  • December 7: BSR will co-host the event “Reducing Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations” with the UNEP-Climate and Clean Air Coalition, government of Norway, the Colombian Center for Sustainable Development Studies, and the World Bank. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.
  • Ongoing: The “Open to Business” hub, hosted by We Mean Business, WBCSD, and IETA, will provide a networking space for business and the investor community.

Within the Climate Generations Area, which is open to the public (no badge needed) and connected to the Blue Zone, business and civil society actors will have stands and hold conferences. See more information here.

There will be exhibitions within La Galerie des Solutions Area that will showcase low-carbon solutions. This area is reserved for business and other professionals (free, upon registration approval).


Outside of Paris-Le Bourget

Many exciting events will take place all around Paris during the two weeks of COP21. These are just a few examples:

  • December 4-10: Solutions COP21 will approach climate solutions through various lenses, such as artistic installations, conferences, concerts, and films in the heart of Paris at the Grand Palais. These exhibits will be open to the general public.
  • December 7-8: BSR is an institutional partner of the Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF15), hosted by UNEP-Climate Action at the Stade de France (located in close proximity to the Le Bourget site). BSR President and CEO Aron Cramer will participate in the panel “Innovation for Business Advantage” on December 8 at 11 a.m.
  • December 8-9: ”Energy for Tomorrow 2015,” hosted by the international New York Times at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, will gather global leaders to discuss the future of energy in a sustainable world.