Posted in: news

23rd November 2016

Business Leaders Push for Urgent Climate Action at COP22

Last week at COP22 in Marrakech, more than 365 businesses, including Fortune 500 firms and small, family-owned businesses continued to press the case for achieving the ambitious goals set out in the Paris Agreement. In the shadow of geo-political uncertainty, business urged the incoming U.S. administration to maintain the nation's commitment, and conveyed business' strong support for President Obama, U.S. lawmakers and other global leaders to continue to push forward with low emissions energy policies.

“Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement will enable and encourage businesses and investors to turn the billions of dollars in existing low-carbon investments into the trillions of dollars the world needs to bring clean energy prosperity to all,” reads the statement, organized through The B Team partner CERES. “Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk.”

Multiple B Team companies signed on to the statement, including Unilever, Virgin, Salesforce and Allianz.

It called for U.S. leaders to strongly support:

  • Continuation of low-carbon policies in order to allow the U.S. to meet or exceed its promised national commitments.
  • Investment in the low-carbon economy at home and abroad in order to give financial decision-makers clarity and boost investor confidence.
  • Continued U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement in order to provide the long-term direction needed to limit global warming.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a B Team Leader and Former Coordinating Minister of the Economy & Minister of Finance, Nigeria, recently wrote about the need to tackle climate change and poverty, nothing that: “To achieve the true ambition of Paris, however, we must ensure that we prioritize efforts to provide vulnerable communities with access to the sustainable energy resources they need to achieve their fundamental right to development. Because solving climate change is, at its core, about upholding the human rights of people around the world."

A sustainable, resilient economy is compatible with growth in the developing world. We must focus not just on the transition, but on how we are transitioning. If effectively managed, building low-carbon, clean-energy growth economies across the global south will create millions of new jobs, engage young people, lift communities out of poverty, reduce inequality and improve health.”

Meanwhile, Richard Branson, The B Team’s chairman and co-founder, wrote about the huge opportunities for renewable energy. He writes that:“Now, with the Agreement officially entering into force, the world needs to move forward more quickly on investment in renewable energy. COP21 was about securing commitment, and COP22 in Marrakesh is very much about embarking on implementation.

With this in mind, part of our investment strategy at Virgin is focused upon finding opportunities in the renewable energy sector and also in energy efficiency. One of our latest investments is BMR Energy, a developer, manager and owner of energy generation projects in the Caribbean and Central America. The company currently has a 36 MW onshore wind park in Jamaica, with additional projects in the region in the pipeline.”

The importance of continued progress towards a low-carbon economy is clear and B Team Leaders are working to ensure that the historic Paris Agreement is upheld. While people might pause for elections and their ramifications, climate change does not.