The Paris Agreement is a reality. The climate accord passed its final hurdle this week, crossing the threshold for entry into force less than a year after it was made. Governments of the world have pledged to move toward a sustainable, clean energy economy.
Advanced, purpose-driven companies have already started to take action alongside governments. Last year, hundreds of businesses declared their own climate commitments, from adopting science-based emissions reduction targets to committing to 100% renewable power to pledging to become net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions companies by 2050.
More are following their lead, taking steps to reduce emissions and scale-up smart, clean-energy investments – action which is fundamental to achieving Paris’ aspiration. And new approaches to accelerate change are being explored, from helping corporate boards become more climate competent, to ensuring that the transition upholds the rights of people around the world, while fairly and equitably sharing both the costs and benefits of our move to a sustainable future.
Significant hurdles and powerful opponents remain. Even in the best case, achieving the reductions in emissions to hold temperature rise at levels needed to save ocean reefs and vulnerable marine communities is formidable.
The task is far from complete, but with Paris now an unstoppable reality, curbing climate change is no longer impossible.
Statements from The B Team leadership:
“National governments have taken a bold first step to address the rising danger of climate change. At Salesforce, we’re committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, and we’re asking every business, government and individual to join us in protecting our planet for future generations.”
Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce
“The early entry into force of the historic Paris Climate treaty is an important signal that governments are serious about tackling climate change. But that’s not enough. Business must do its part to support the treaty and make a commitment to sustained investments in renewable energy. It’s our only chance to turn the tide on climate change.”
Sir Richard Branson, Co-Founder and Co-Chair, The B Team and Founder, Virgin Group
“The entry into force of the Paris Agreement just ten months after COP21 is a defining moment for the global economy. It sends an unmistakable signal to business and investors that the global transition to a low-carbon economy is urgent, inevitable, and accelerating faster than we ever believed possible.”
Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
“The Earth’s ecosystems don’t have time for politics – only science. This week, the nations of the world said they agree. With surprising speed, they have ensured that the Paris Agreement will enter into force this year. It’s an historic moment – but our work must now accelerate. Now is the time for businesses to seize the economic opportunity before them, and shift rapidly toward zero greenhouse-gas emissions to create a sustainable, clean energy economy. And to do so in a just manner that respects human rights, creates millions of new jobs, lifts millions out of poverty and reduces inequality in all its forms.”
Keith Tuffley, CEO and Managing Partner, The B Team
“The success of the Paris Agreement has created critical conditions for humanity’s future survival. But whether the climate and environment will be conserved and protected relies on the actions of global entrepreneurs and citizens. BROAD resolves to make the greatest effort to this end.”
Zhang Yue, Chairman and Founder, BROAD Group China