Home / News & Events / Archive

Businesses from Developing and Developed Economies Demonstrate Climate Leadership, Urge Action on Climate Change

UN-backed Caring for Climate Initiative Convenes First Meeting of Signatories

(Geneva, 21 October 2008) – Representatives of more than 150 corporations, civil society organizations, governments and UN agencies from around the world are gathering in Geneva today for the first gathering of signatories to Caring for Climate, a voluntary global action platform jointly launched in 2007 by the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The meeting showcases and discusses new business solutions to the climate challenge and aims to produce crucial business insights and develop a clear and shared path forward in support of an effective post-Kyoto policy framework on climate change. It also sets the stage for a World Business Summit on Climate Change, to be convened in Copenhagen on 24-26 May 2009.

Caring for  Climate seeks to advance practical solutions and help shape public policy as well as public attitudes on climate change. Nearly 300 businesses, covering 30 industry sectors in 48 countries, have joined the platform. Signatories include a large number of companies from emerging and developing economies where environmental and resource security issues have come to the forefront of the business agenda.

Through a series of plenary sessions and interactive workshops, the Geneva meeting will discuss best practices and policy frameworks with regard to climate change; investments and technologies; as well as emerging climate leadership in developing nations.

A new GlobeScan survey among Caring for Climate signatories, to be introduced at the meeting, reveals that a majority of signatories are optimistic about their ability to develop the internal capacity to set targets and reduce climate impact, while recognizing room for improvement in implementing strategies and sharing climate experience with other companies.

According to the survey, Caring for Climate signatories expect similar leadership from governments, long-term plans for emission reductions, more investments in low-carbon technologies and stimulation of consumer demand for innovative climate-safe products and services. Survey respondents further recommend that governments meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009 to finalize the post-Kyoto agreement should ensure participation by developed and developing nations, set GHG reduction targets even if compromise is required, and establish workable mechanisms to help nations meet targets, along with incentives for business.

In addition to the Globescan survey, participants will discuss seven new reports and research projects, covering a wide range of climate-related issues, including energy efficiency, responsible investment, and strategies and practices in emerging economies. Final reports will be presented at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in 2009.

Statements Attributable to Co-Conveners of Caring for Climate

“Recent weeks of financial turmoil are a reminder of fundamental decisions that need to be taken about how we run our economies and business with longer term climate change impacts in mind”, said Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. “Latest scientific evidence on climate change are proving worse than foreseen, and ecosystems services worth trillions of dollars are being lost due to unsustainable consumption and production. Participant companies under Caring for Climate are showing hope for the future, taking action in all regions and addressing climate change in a strategic manner”.

“Climate change will undoubtedly reshape the business landscape as we know it. Whether or not companies take early action on climate change is crucial”, said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. “Companies committed to Caring for Climate demonstrate that a growing number of businesses is making a choice that tells us that a sustainable future and business competitiveness can complement each other”.

“The global corporations who make up our membership understand, in spite of the financial crisis, that acting on climate change is more urgent than ever”, said Bjorn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. “Global business has the resources to deliver energy efficiencies, to innovate, to develop and deploy technology, and to drive carbon markets. This goes to the heart of issues of long term success: profitability, value to shareholders and  responsible management in the interests of the community as a whole. Business has now demonstrated repeatedly that is also  willing to work in partnership with governments and other players to ensure that we succeed in this enormous challenge”.

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP, established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.
UNEP work encompasses assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends; developing international and national environmental instruments; strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment; facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable development; and encouraging new partnerships and mind-sets within civil society and the private sector. For more information, visit  www.unep.org .

About the UN Global Compact

Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a leadership initiative endorsed by chief executives, it seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With over 5,000 signatories in more than 130 countries, it is the world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative. Through Caring for Climate, an engagement platform jointly launched with the UN Environment Programme and the WBCSD, the UN Global Compact aims to advance practical solutions and help shape public policy as well as public attitudes on climate change.

About the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led, global association of some 200 companies dealing exclusively with business and sustainable development. The Council provides a platform for companies to explore sustainable development, share knowledge, experiences and best practices, and to advocate business positions on these issues in a variety of forums, working with governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations. Members are drawn from more than 35 countries and 20 major industrial sectors. The Council also benefits from a global network of about 55 national and regional business councils and regional partners. More information:  www.wbcsd.org  

Media Contacts

Nick Nuttall
Spokesperson
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
nick.nuttall@unep.org      
+254-20 7623084
+254 (0) 733 632755 (mobile in Kenya)
+ 41-79 -96 57 37 (mobile when traveling)

Matthias Stausberg
Spokesperson
UN Global Compact
stausberg@un.org
+1-917-214-1337

Lynette Thorstensen
Managing Director – Communications WBCSD
thorstensen@wbcsd.org
+41-79-331-7126