As diplomats and environment experts continue to work towards a global climate agreement in Poland, a United Nations-business forum is trying for the first time to unite the public sector with private ventures to allow businesses and investors to set concrete actions and share solutions.
"Businesses must be heard, leveraged and invited to develop scalable climate change solutions to drive climate action,” Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told participants at the inaugural Caring for Climate Business Forum being held in Warsaw alongside the UN Climate Change Conference.
“This can create the political space for more ambition in the UN climate process, which as part of a virtuous cycle can in turn catalyze more business action,” she added.
The Forum, launched today by the UN Global Compact, the UNFCCC secretariat and UN Environment Programme (UNEP), is the first time that the private sector has joined Government officials in co-creating climate change solutions as an official part of the Conference of Parties, according to a news release.
The companies that will survive and thrive in the long-run are those able to adapt to “rapidly evolving world where factors such as climate change and dwindling availability of natural resources will shape future patterns of profit and loss while driving new and smarter markets,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP and UN Under-Secretary-General.
Among the businesses participating in the forum are Ikea, which has vowed to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020, and Dow, which has created a framework to mitigate the footprint large scale events and help to produce the first carbon neutral Olympic Games.
“Demonstrations of real-life climate-change solutions can help to build precedents and public support that are needed to move policymakers to action,” said Georg Kell, UN Global Compact Executive Director. “By facilitating private-sector investment, setting a price on carbon and bringing to scale climate change solutions that work, the private sector can prove that it plays a lead role in influencing the global climate change agenda.”
Tomorrow, chief executives and senior representatives of the Caring for Climate signatories will meet with high-level Government officials. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to participate.