On December 12, the two-year anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change, French President Emmanuel Macron, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will jointly convene the One Planet Summit. Its focus—public- and private-sector finance in support of climate action—is a reminder that to reduce emissions and to build climate resilience, we will need to channel international funding toward low-emissions and climate-resilient development. One of the three stated objectives of the Paris Agreement is to do precisely that.
Over the past two years, momentum in the business community for climate action has grown. The BSR/Globescan 2017 State of Sustainability survey shows that climate change is now the top sustainability priority for business, along with human rights. Through the We Mean Business coalition’s Take Action campaign, more than 620 companies, with a total market capitalization of more than US$15.5 trillion and 2.31 gigatons of annual greenhouse gas emissions reported in their direct operations, have committed to bold climate action to date. However, in order to limit global temperature increases and build resilience to address the inevitable impacts of climate change, all of us—companies, investors, government actors, and other stakeholders—need to work together to go further, faster.
The financial system has a key role to play in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy, and it is beginning to integrate climate risks into the cost of capital. The recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures have galvanized increasing harmonization of climate reporting, as well as the creation of a new Climate Disclosure Standards Board and We Mean Business commitment to implement the recommendations. Sixteen banks are now piloting the recommendations with the UNEP Finance Initiative. S&P recently published that over the last two years, climate and environment were relevant to more than 700 ratings, and in more than 100 cases resulted in a ratings action. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, is considering divesting from oil. And BNP Paribas recently announced that it would stop financing shale and oil sands projects.
Our own Aron Cramer and Farid Baddache will participate in the One Planet Summit on behalf of BSR and the We Mean Business coalition next week. The event will feature four panels with corresponding announcements and calls to action.
- The “Scaling up Finance for Climate Action” panel will illustrate the new mandate for public and private finance and showcase investments to build climate resilience.
- In “Greening Finance for Sustainable Business,” panelists will discuss how to increase transparency about climate risks, promote impact investment, and mobilize investors for a low-carbon future.
- The “Accelerating Local and Regional Climate Action” session will feature innovative public-private collaborations and pathways for finance at the sub-national level.
- In “Strengthening Policies for Ecological and Inclusive Transition,” leaders will explore creative ways to deliver a transition to the low-carbon economy through policy that does not leave any country or group behind.
The Summit will kick off a year when our collective focus will turn from targets to impacts, from promises to results. The business community will be called upon to demonstrate progress in implementing the Paris Agreement in the high-level UNFCCC Talanoa Dialogue, named after a Fijian form of gathering aimed at the collective good, throughout the year; at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco next September; and at the UN climate negotiations in Poland next December.
BSR is proud to serve on the Global Climate Action Summit’s Advisory Committee as the representative of the business community and to act as the international policy lead for the We Mean Business coalition. Through these roles and others, we will channel the energy and enthusiasm of business to deliver on the low-carbon, climate-resilient world we all need.
We’d love for you to join us in Paris next week to continue the conversation and the momentum.