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Sharma: ‘businesses must join the Race To Zero’

COP26 President-Designate addresses CEOs at Business 7 Summit, welcoming new sign-ups to Race to Zero campaign and urging others to follow their lead:

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to speak at this Business Climate Leaders Summit.

In the fight against climate change, it is vital that we have the innovation, the influence and the energy of the private sector on our side.

And so I am really pleased to say that business has been stepping up to the plate.

Through investments and innovations, companies are developing the solutions we need to make the transition to a low-carbon future.

And momentum for real, meaningful climate action is growing across the corporate world.

In 2015, the countries of the world signed the Paris Agreement, and established a framework to tackle the climate crisis.

That included a commitment to limit global average temperature rises to well below two degrees celsius, whilst pursuing efforts to limit the rise to 1.5 degrees.

Back then, in 2015, a movement was just beginning for businesses to set emission reductions targets.

Today we have over 2000 companies and 130 investors signed up to the Race to Zero.

It’s the gold standard of climate action.

It’s a rigorous and robust commitment to help to keep the 1.5 degree target within reach.

By reaching net zero by 2050 at the latest.

And by setting short term targets, based on science, to get there.

A third of the UK’s largest firms have joined. Including Sainsbury’s, Natwest, and National Grid.

Race to Zero membership spans the globe, and indeed the economy.

Firms from every sector are on board – from transport to retail, from finance to construction.

Including of course those industries where the move to net zero poses the greatest challenges, like, for instance, cement.

And momentum continues to grow. We have more than twice as many company members today than we did last September.

Such action from business is vital for two key reasons:

  1. Firstly, meeting the goal of the Paris Agreement, and limiting global temperature rises, depends on changes across the real economy.
  2. Secondly, action from companies encourages action from countries.

To make bold commitments, governments need to know that they will be welcomed, not resisted by business.

That firms are indeed clamouring for climate action.

Joining Race to Zero sends just this message.

So the increase in membership of course is absolutely fantastic.

But, we need it to move faster. Much faster.

Because to keep the 1.5 degree goal within reach, we must halve our emissions over the next decade.

See original release here.

Image: “Alok Sharma MP speaking at the Chinese New Year reception”by UK Prime Minister is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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