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Global Business Leaders to Discuss Deal on Climate Change at CEO Summit in Copenhagen on 24-26 May 2009

(New York/Copenhagen, 6 November 2008) - Six months prior to the pivotal UN climate change conference (COP15) at the end of 2009, the world’s leading CEOs will convene at the World Business Summit on Climate Change. Together, they will deliver recommendations to governments on how to leverage business in the fight against global warming.

An effective global response to climate change will require mobilization of business globally. It is the private sector that is going to make the investments, develop the technologies and innovations needed to lower emissions and bring them to market and to consumers.

It is to this end that business leaders from all regions and sectors are to meet for a CEO summit on climate change six months before governments convene for the UN climate conference in Copenhagen next year. At the World Business Summit on Climate Change on 24-26 May 2009, more than 500 business leaders will deliver a shared vision and a set of recommendations from a business perspective towards a new, global framework on climate change.

The event is hosted by Copenhagen Climate Council in collaboration with six of the most influential business initiatives on climate change. Working with 3C (Combat Climate Change), The Climate Group, the UN Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Economic Forum’s Climate Change Initiative, the Copenhagen Climate Council will aim to generate new momentum in the critical process leading up to the UN summit and put pressure on governments to agree to an effective new global climate treaty.

The World Business Summit on Climate Change enjoys full support from Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and Minister for Climate and Energy Connie Hedegaard, who will be leading negotiations throughout 2009. They have invited the organisers to deliver the outcome directly to the negotiations. “In my view, the World Business Summit on Climate Change will be a pivotal event that can deliver an important contribution to the political decisions to be made during the UN Climate Conference, COP 15, in Copenhagen in December 2009”, says Fogh Rasmussen.

“Business is often used by politicians as an excuse for not acting on climate change. We will remove that excuse. We will showcase the commitment from business by highlighting the best examples of how business strategies on climate change. We will demonstrate that business wants a global deal on climate change. And we will show how tackling climate change can lead to exciting new business ventures and continued economic growth”, said Erik Rasmussen, founder of the Copenhagen Climate Council, on behalf of the partners.

“If Copenhagen fails, we are in trouble. It will have disastrous consequences for our planet, it will be extremely costly and lead to a global economic crisis on a scale that is hard to imagine. According to the Stern report, lack of action within the next few years will mean annual costs of more than 5% of global GDP to mitigate and adapt to climate change”.

Rasmussen went on to note that “faced with the current financial crisis, we fear a vicious circle: Collapsing banking systems could push climate change down the political agenda, even though inaction will lead to even more pressure on the global economy. We need to see politicians take leadership and reach an agreement in Copenhagen. This is the ultimate goal of the World Business Summit on Climate Change.”

For further information, please contact:

Lila Karbassi
UN Global Compact Office
karbassi@un.org

Per Meilstrup
Climate Director
+45 3393 9323
pm@mm.dk

Johannah Christensen
Project Director
+45 3393 9323
jc@mm.dk

About the conveners

3C (Combat Climate Change) is a business leaders’ initiative committed to the integration of climate issues into the world of markets via the establishment of a new global framework to come into force in 2013. 3C supports this process by providing guidance and recommendations to global policymakers. At present, 53 global companies have joined the initiative.

"Business leaders must show the leadership, focus, and spirit of common understanding that has been lacking in the political process," says Lars G. Josefsson, President and CEO of Vattenfall and founder of 3C. "The climate challenge is too important for us as global citizens and for the sustainable future of business to allow the process to fail. The companies of the 3C Initiative are eager to do their part in collaboration with other important initiatives."

The Copenhagen Climate Council is a global collaboration between international business and science founded by the leading independent think tank in Scandinavia, the Copenhagen based Monday Morning. The members of the Copenhagen Climate Council are working to create global awareness about the importance of the UN Summit in Copenhagen 2009, and to ensure support and assistance to delegates as they work towards a new climate treaty. The Copenhagen Climate Council comprises 30 global leaders, including CEOs from major international companies.

Founded in 2004 by a diverse group of companies, governments, and supporters, The Climate Group is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing business and government leadership on climate change. The Climate Group is based in the UK, the USA, Australia, China and India, and operates internationally by promoting the development and sharing of expertise on how business and government can lead the way towards a low carbon economy whilst boosting profitability and competitiveness. Focused on solutions and positive collaboration across governments, businesses and non-profit sectors, the climate Group acts independently of special interests and political affiliations.

“Supported by bold government policies, global business leaders can unlock the clean green revolution we need to tackle climate change and usher in a new era of low carbon prosperity,” says Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group.

The United Nations Global Compact is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a multi-stakeholder leadership initiative, 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. Caring for Climate is a voluntary and complementary action platform for those UN Global Compact participants who seek to demonstrate leadership on the issue of climate change. It provides a framework for business leaders to advance practical solutions and help shape public policy as well as public attitudes. To date, Caring for Climate has the support of 285 companies including major players from emerging markets.

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 purpose of the WBCSD is to provide 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.

An independent, international organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is a global community of business, political, intellectual and other leaders of society who are committed to improving the state of the world. To carry out this mission, the World Economic Forum establishes networks, publishes reports, and arranges regional as well as global meetings, such as its Annual Meeting in Davos. In July 2008, the World Economic Forum’s Climate Change Initiative together with WBCSD published detailed policy recommendations on climate change to the G8 leaders, backed by more than 100 CEOs from many of the world’s largest companies.

Factsheet

World Business Summit on Climate Change, Copenhagen 24-26 May 2009

The World Business Summit on Climate Change will bring together chief executives, government representatives, scientists and leading thinkers to put forward concrete proposals, new insights and ideas to the next international framework on climate change. It is the only event of its kind leading up to the UN summit in December 2009.

Convening Climate Leaders

The World Business Summit on Climate Change will bring together some 500 to 800 leaders from business, government and civil society. Participants include chief executives, government ministers, leading scientists, economists, media leaders and opinion shapers, innovators, entrepreneurs and other thought leaders, including Sir Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group; Al Gore, Chairman of Generation Investment Management and former Vice President of the US; Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen; Danish Minister for Climate and Energy Connie Hedegaard; Li Xiaolin, CEO of China Power International Development; Paul S. Otellini, CEO of Intel; Zhengrong Shi, CEO of Suntech; and Samuel A. DiPiazza, CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Program

The program will focus on exploring how the next global treaty can be shaped to encourage business action on climate change, highlighting existing best practices and the solutions applied by leading companies and industries. Workshops and other interactive sessions will address issues such as:

  • How to promote investment in technology RD&D
  • How to ensure rapid deployment of clean technologies
  • How to leverage private capital in financing clean energy in developing economies
  • How to promote investment energy efficiency
  • How to protect the world’s carbon sinks
  • How to make global carbon markets work
  • How to resolve IPR issues in technology transfer to developing countries
  • How to secure the ability to adapt to the effects of climate change in the most affected regions

Full support from host of the 2009 UN summit

The World Business Summit on Climate Change is convened with full support from the Danish government, host of COP15, who will take the recommendations forward in the final six months of negotiations.

Global business partnership behind the summit

The World Business Summit on Climate Change is organised by the Copenhagen Climate Council in collaboration with the United Nations Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Combat Climate Change, The Climate Group and the World Economic Forum’s Climate Change Initiative.

Government and business test the new treaty

In conjunction with the World Business Summit on Climate Change, the Danish government will convene a “Copenhagen Business PrepCom”, an exclusive CEO roundtable for select business leaders and key negotiators to help shape the post-2012 policy framework from a business perspective.

Venue

Bella Center, Copenhagen, Denmark

Greening Event

In collaboration with Official Airline and Greening Partner Scandinavian Airlines, the organisers of the event are seeking out ways to deliver the event in the most sustainable way. As part of this effort, CO2 emissions from participants’ air travel will be offset.

The Summit starts now

Today sees the launch of an online community and website, featuring discussions, news feeds and preparations of the summit agenda. Users can build peer networks, engage in extensive interactive discussions, and collaborate on new innovative solutions for tackling climate change.

Go to www.copenhagenclimatecouncil.com to take part in the debate.