Businesses call for action on climate change

Posted on 14 September 2011

A summit of world leaders and global businesses closed yesterday with recognition that “failure is not an option” at climate talks in Durban later this year.
London: A summit of world leaders and global businesses closed yesterday with recognition that “failure is not an option” at climate talks in Durban later this year.

NJ Mxakato-Diseko, ambassador at Large for COP 17/CMP 7, Department of International Relations & Cooperation South Africa, who spoke on the closing day of the Business for the Environment Climate Summit (B4E) in London, said that a failure to make progress at the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) talks could result in a ‘collapse of the system’. The Ambassador also highlighted the need for developed countries to engage more with developing countries and ‘demystify’ the transition to a green economy.

Ambassador Diseko welcomed the commitments made by participants in the Summit, which saw over 250 high-level business, NGO and civil society leaders from 26 countries put forward a document setting out plans for industry commitments and policy asks to speed up the change to a green economy.

Concerted action for sustainability

Delegates argued that concerted government action can leverage a stronger private sector response and more investment in projects which can contribute to long-term sustainability.

Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International said, "Multilateral government talks have so far failed to agree on solutions to stop runaway climate change. In this context, it’s clear that to avert the worst we must find ways to channel the private sector’s resources and entrepreneurial drive into the challenge of building a renewable energy economy."

The outcome document also contains the commitments and expectations for Durban talks of seven industry working groups: Building & Construction; Transport & Mobility; Food & Beverage; Renewable Energy; Consumer Goods; Forestry & Agriculture; and Finance & Investment.

Reaching for Zero

The theme of the B4E Climate Summit, organized by Global Initiatives in partnership with WWF and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), was ‘Reaching for Zero’. This saw delegates discuss how solving the global climate challenge will require a dramatic shift to transformative action beyond incremental change and reductions.

Sir Stephen Gomersall, Group Chairman for Europe from Hitachi said: “On the long road to achieve zero emissions, government, businesses and individuals all have their roles to play … It was good to see so many companies sharing their approaches and commitment at this conference.”

The outcome document will accompany a more extensive B4E Climate Summit report that will provide session outcome focused on inputs from industry groups to identify industry commitments and policy needs from climate negotiators in contributing to achieving national targets established by governments.

The document from the B4E Climate Summit will be communicated throughout the various COP 17 Prep Meetings up till the UNFCCC COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, with the objective of providing clear industry support to climate negotiators towards Rio+20.

Melting iceberg on coast Qaanaaq, Greenland, Arctic.
© Staffan Widstrand / WWF