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2nd November 2021

COP26: B Team Leaders Stand in Solidarity with Climate Vulnerable Countries

By Marc Benioff


Thank you, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and President Irfaan Ali.

The B Team and the We Mean Business Coalition are honored to stand with the Climate Vulnerable Forum. Today we call for greater global partnership in the face of deepening challenges, in particular the climate crisis and its disproportionate impacts on the most vulnerable people and countries.

All of us must work together to ensure key steps are taken to keep the 1.5°C target alive and deliver a just transition.

CVF’s membership comprises 48 countries, a combined GDP of USD$2.3 trillion and 1.2 billion people, representing one-sixth of the world’s population. Yet they are only responsible for 5% of global emissions. Investment in these countries’ climate prosperity has the potential to catalyze an increase of trillions of dollars in combined GDP, benefitting citizens, business and the global economy alike.

I represent nearly 800 global businesses from across the We Mean Business Coalition, including Salesforce, Novozymes, DSM and Unilever gathered here in Glasgow. Together, we have publicly urged all G20 nations to halve global emissions by 2030 and align public finance, COVID-19 recovery spending & fiscal policies with a 1.5°C trajectory.

As we have just heard, CVF members intend to create what the President has referred to as climate prosperity. As business leaders, we share this ambition. Sustainable, prosperous and inclusive societies benefit each and every one of us. They provide a foundation for more and better-paying jobs, for entrepreneurship, innovation and opportunities for local talent to thrive in CVF countries.

If we all share this ambition, then we must acknowledge what stands in the way of making it a reality.

In partnership with the CVF, and as detailed in our G20 letter, we are calling on developed nations to deliver on existing climate finance commitments. This includes US$100 billion for developing countries, to be equitably distributed across climate mitigation and adaptation measures. The success or failure of COP26 will be judged in part on the willingness of developed nations to deliver on this long-standing pledge, which has still not been met.

Debt is at the centre of this challenge.

Therefore, we also urge the providers of this finance to make sure that the US$100 billion is new funds rather than recycling existing commitments, and provided as grants rather than loans. One more dollar of debt is one less dollar toward our climate survival.

As business leaders, we know that upfront investment is often needed to deliver long-term returns. This is certainly true when it comes to climate investment.

But when countries are still developing, their access to capital is limited. Credit ratings account for past performance, not future potential.

If we are serious about using public finance to catalyze trillions of dollars in private investment that we all know are needed to meet the climate challenge, then we must find ways to unleash these trillions through smart finance, and not put walls of debt obligations in the way.

The B Team and the We Mean Business Coalition stand with you, President, and with the members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, to call for urgent action to deliver on the promise already made regarding the US$100 billion and ensure all climate finance does not worsen debt challenges.

We welcome your call for private sector input into your countries’ plans for climate prosperity, and we commit ourselves to participating in this process.

For all the talk about ambition at COP26 and elsewhere, ambition is only the first step.

Smart delivery is what makes the difference.