Aron Cramer, President and CEO, BSR

In less than four weeks, BSR’s first Spring Forum will kick off in Paris, with this year’s event gathering distinguished leaders from business, government, and civil society to focus on collaborative efforts to combat climate change. 

While individual companies are finding innovative ways to help transition to low-carbon prosperity, new forms of collaboration are needed to ensure that progress happens fast enough.

One partnership we will feature in Paris is an effort BSR is proud to be a part of: the new We Mean Business coalition of business networks and companies that aims to catalyze private-sector action and government policy on climate.  The group was launched by a network of partners including BSR, CERES, CDP, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Climate Group, and the Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group, in conjunction with Nike and Ikea. 

We believe this “network of networks” will spur more effective public policy solutions that will enable market incentives and innovation that will help businesses plan for and invest in the low-carbon economy. Each partner is committed to working together on these goals. 

Through this partnership, BSR is taking the advice we always give to our member companies and stakeholders: Collaboration is essential for systemic progress on complex issues. Candidly speaking, the sustainability community has not always taken its own advice on collaboration. We are optimistic that by joining forces with our sister organizations, we will make more progress than we could on our own—and this also helps us serve our member companies more fully.  

The object lesson here is important, but ultimately the substance is the key.  This collaboration is built on the idea that leading companies can take more risks and make more progress with policy frameworks working in their favor. We have seen that when businesses speak with one voice, we can promote more effective policy at the local, national, and international levels. 

At the Paris Forum, we will invite attendees to learn more about how We Mean Business can promote better policy frameworks. I will moderate this workshop with Ikea Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard, CDP Chief Executive Paul Simpson, and others. Our hope is that this workshop will draw new voices into the effort, and explore strategies for aligning business and policy innovation. The workshop will build on the Forum’s packed two-day program, which features a series of lively debates and presentations on everything from how big business can achieve big emissions reductions to how business can collaborate with others to build resilience to climate impacts. 

We Mean Business is based on the notion that bold action by business and government will drive low-carbon growth and help create a healthier and more prosperous world for all.  This is also the animating idea behind the BSR Spring Forum.  

We hope that this effort will build the momentum we need for a successful outcome at the COP21 meeting in Paris in December 2015. And we hope this collaboration sparks new ideas for companies to “manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable” of business in a climate-constrained world.

To learn more about the BSR Spring Forum, visit paris14.bsr.org. Or visit www.bsr.org/en/focus/bccw/stories to learn more about BSR’s Business in a Climate-Constrained World initiative.