(Marrakech) – More than 100 high-level business leaders and investors met with leaders from Government, civil society and the United Nations in a show of resounding support and commitment to taking action on the Paris Climate Agreement at the COP 22/CMP 12: High-Level Meeting on Climate Change on 16 November.
Hosted by the United Nations Global Compact, together with UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the secretariat of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the meeting was testament that responsible businesses across the world stand ready, willing and able to take climate action. Additional event partners included the Principles for Responsible Investment and La Confédération Générale des Entreprises du Maroc.
On the occasion of the High-Level Caring for Climate Meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged companies to further increase their commitment to climate action. “Now it is time to turn words into deeds, to seize the opportunity before us for. We have no time to lose … that is why Marrakech is critical for strengthening the global climate action agenda, ensuring that we close the gap to meet the below 2° pathway. And that’s where business has an enormous role to play.”
Over the course of the High-Level Meeting, participants mapped out how they plan to accelerate climate action and increase low-carbon investments at the country level. Business representatives shared proposals on how the private sector can support and reinforce national climate priorities on mitigation and adaptation and highlighted the inextricable link between addressing climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Commenting on the private sector’s role in addressing climate change, Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, emphasized: “The climate movement is unstoppable. More and more companies are taking action, and seeing new opportunities for growth and innovation. But we will need companies everywhere to urgently rise to the challenge if we are to achieve our climate goals and the broader 2030 sustainable development agenda. That is why we will increasingly focus our efforts on supporting private sector climate action at the country level.”
Building on a decade of successfully engaging business on the international climate agenda, the UN Global Compact announced a new solutions platform Pathway to Low-Carbon & Resilient Development to mobilize the private sector to catalyze country-level action to meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. The platform will help companies scale up climate action that contributes to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and national SDG plans. The Pathway to Low-Carbon & Resilient Development aims to set a new global standard of business leadership on climate while providing a space for companies to review, realign and recalibrate their corporate climate goals.
Also today, the UN Global Compact together with partners released the 2016 Status Report on the Business Contribution to Global Climate Action, an assessment of the impact of business initiatives on achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. The report found that there are now 30 business-led initiatives registered on the UN-backed NAZCA climate portal, in total including more than 3,300 companies and organizations. Since COP 21, the number of businesses participating in these initiatives has increased by 17 percent and that 27 percent of these business participants have their headquarters in developing or transition economies.
Outcomes from the 9 November Business and Industry Day found that private sector engagement on climate action has grown notably, for example: 77 companies are now committed to the UN Global Compact Business Leadership Criteria on Carbon Pricing; 200 companies representing USD $4.8 trillion in market value and responsible for 627 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year have committed to set targets aligned with climate science; and a growing number of companies have agreed to the UN Global Compact’s Commitment for Adaptation and Resilience launched in June 2016.
The High Level Meeting featured remarks by H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly; Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC; Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UNEP; and Dr. David Nabarro, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change.
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