Businesses Bring the Climate-Change Fight to COP16

by | Nov 24, 2010

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Focusing on the role of business in developing solutions to climate change, a group of business, finance and government leaders is launching its inaugural World Climate Summit at the UNFCCC COP16 conference in Cancun, Mexico. The summit conference marks the beginning of an open and collaborative global 10-year framework aimed at helping governments, businesses and financiers accelerate climate-change solutions.

As part of the World Climate Summit, more than 300 leading companies, financiers and government leaders will work together to implement, scale and collaborate on climate-change solutions to help reach regional and global 2020 targets.

A study recently released by the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) finds that the top 3,000 public companies were responsible for $2.15 trillion, or about one-third, of all global environmental damage.

The UN groups say the study is an initial effort to quantify in monetary terms the environmental harm caused by business and the possible future consequences for investor portfolios, fund returns and company earnings. Recommendations included collaboration to encourage companies and policy makers to reduce environmental impact.

“As world leaders drive towards a global agreement on climate change, investors in the world’s capital markets cannot afford to simply sit and wait. Investors and other financial institutions are determined to work with policy-makers to catalyze new low carbon markets worth USD trillions,” said Paul Clements-Hunt, head of the UNEP Finance Initiative, in a statement. “The World Climate Summit will bring finance, business and negotiators together to help make those future low carbon markets a reality.”

Convening under the leadership of the UNEP Finance Initiative, Sir Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Lord Stern, Emilio Azcarraga, President of Grupo Televisa are some of the more than 100 speakers from 20+ industries scheduled to speak at the conference.

The summit is expected to introduce new global initiatives and announce the winners of the Carbon War Room’s Gigaton Awards, which are considered to be the Oscars of sustainable business. The Carbon War Room was co-founded by Branson two years ago.

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