Climate Change

We are at a Code Red for Humanity to confront the climate emergency. Climate change is exacerbating risks and affecting health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, biodiversity and economic growth while inequalities continue to deepen. Climate breakdown is no longer a distant threat - it is already affecting lives and livelihoods, especially among the most vulnerable in the Global South.

Global temperatures are already up 1.1°C and the 2021 Emissions Gap Report shows that with the present nationally determined contributions and other firm commitments of countries around the world, we are on track for a catastrophic global temperature rise of around 2.7°C by the end of the century.

Our Work

Private sector climate action and leadership are going to be critical to the transition to a net-zero, resilient future by 2050. Businesses have a key role to play in sending strong market signals and scaling innovative solutions to build trust and present credible plans towards a zero-carbon economy, do their part to increase society’s resilience and unlock climate finance, while advocating for a green and just recovery.

Companies can lead the transition and take ambitious action by engaging with us.

Innovation and thought leadership

Launched at COP26 in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Just Transition Think Lab will shape and define business leadership on critical issues such as the inequalities deepened by climate change and potential opportunities by engaging companies on resilience, health, and a just transition; social dialogue, good jobs and ESG implications for workers and communities; and inspire continuous performance improvement across sectors. It will also address key business challenges and identify good practice across sectors and regions.

The Ocean Stewardship Coalition has put forward key steps to unlock a climate-smart ocean to meet the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C temperature goal, while the Water Resilience Coalition, a Race to Resilience partner, aims to preserve the world’s freshwater resources through collective action in water-stressed basins and ambitious, quantifiable commitments.

Scaling globally

The Science Based Targets initiative (CDP, UN Global Compact, WRI and WWF) has been driving ambitious corporate climate action since 2015, with more than 2200 companies taking climate action aligned with the Paris Agreement, of which over 1000 companies have approved science-based targets, as of December 2021.

Companies and financial institutions are urged to aim for the highest level of ambition in their target setting and commit to set a long-term science-based target to reach net-zero value chain GHGs emissions by no later than 2050. Companies adopting the SBTi’s Corporate Net-Zero Standard will be required to set both near- and long-term science-based targets across all scopes. These companies will also be recognized as part of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the Race to Zero campaigns.

To advance learning for Participants on science-based targets, the UN Global Compact Academy offers e-learning courses guiding companies in the process of setting a science-based target in support of a net-zero future. In addition, the Climate Ambition Accelerator is offered to equip companies with the knowledge and skills they need to accelerate progress towards setting science-based emissions reduction targets aligned with the 1.5℃ pathway, setting them on a path towards net- zero emissions by 2050.

Caring for Climate (UN Global Compact, UNEP and UNFCCC) mobilizes business leaders and convenes the annual high-level meetings on climate change at COP, inviting senior executives of business, industry, finance, civil society, the United Nations and Government to ramp up corporate action.

Enabling environment

Companies play an important role in providing proactive, constructive input for governments to create effective climate policies. While making a commitment to sustainability is important, it is also critical to connect the dots between this commitment and your corporate policy positions. The Ambition Loop (UN Global Compact, World Resources Institute and We Mean Business) is a positive feedback loop in which bold Government policies and private sector leadership reinforce each other and together take climate action to the next level.

Corporate climate action plays an essential part in sending market signals for countries to enhance climate policy. In a time of global uncertainty, the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened existing inequalities and threatens to reverse progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. As a result, more than 170 CEOs are urging Governments to align socio-economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic with climate science and reaffirming their own science-based commitments to achieving a zero-carbon economy well before 2050 through the Uniting Business and Governments to Recover Better statement.

Our Impact

Corporate climate action is rapidly increasing. An analysis in November 2021 found that over 1,045 companies representing more than $23 trillion in market capitalization (more than the GDP of the United States) have responded to an urgent call to decarbonize at the pace and scale required to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The companies span 53 sectors in 60 countries and have more than 32 million employees, through the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. The SBTi has become the de facto gold standard for businesses to set credible targets to address the climate crisis. However, to have a fighting chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C, we need to build on the momentum of scaling-up and mainstreaming the adoption of 1.5°C-aligned targets. The G20’s largest and highest-emitting companies must urgently increase climate action to align with 1.5°C, and the G7 must lead from the front in driving climate action on science-based net-zero targets.

Seven firms already have their net-zero targets certified as part of the SBTi’s pilot scheme to validate net-zero targets in 2021. The companies are UN Global Compact participants.

Ways to Engage

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