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.
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
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
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:
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
+254 (0) 733 632755 (mobile in Kenya)
+ 41-79 -96 57 37 (mobile when traveling)
UN Global Compact
Managing Director – Communications WBCSD