Business leaders join chorus for climate action

Posted: 22 September 2009

Business leaders of over 500 companies from around the world have today issued 'The Copenhagen Communique' calling on world leaders to agree "an ambitious, robust and equitable global deal on climate change that responds credibly to the scale and urgency of the crisis facing the world today".

They warn that business will suffer if a credible deal is not reached at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December.

The companies call for emission reduction targets to be guided by science and offer support for the emerging consensus to limit global average temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. In turn, they recognise that this will require global emissions to peak and begin to decline rapidly within the next decade and reduce by 50-85 per cent by 2050.

The business leaders urge developed countries to take on "immediate and deep emission reduction commitments" and "demonstrate that low-carbon growth is both achievable and desirable" and provide the necessary financial and technological assistance to developing countries. They call on developing countries to draw up their own emission reduction plans, and call on advanced developing countries to adopt economy-wide commitments by 2020. Emergency action

The companies argue for an immediate interim emergency package to provide substantial funding to tropical forest nations to help them halt deforestation in their countries. The continued destruction of rainforests accounts for up to a fifth of annual greenhouse gas emissions.

The launch of The Copenhagen Communique is timed to coincide with the UN Summit on Climate Change which is taking place at the UN headquarters in New York today. A copy of The Copenhagen Communique will be handed at lunchtime today to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and distributed to more than 100 Heads of State and Governments attending the summit.

The Copenhagen Communiqué has already secured the support of companies based in over 50 countries (including the US, EU, Japan, Australia and Canada, as well as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), ranging from the world's largest companies and best-known brands to Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) and across a wide variety of business sectors.

In two pages, the Communique sets out the business case for a strong and effective UN climate framework and offers what the organisers describe as "a progressive global consensus" on the shape of an agreement.

The Copenhagen Communique is an initiative of The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders' Group on Climate Change which is run by The University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. Global partners in support of the initiative include The Climate Group, The UN Global Compact and WWF-International along with business associations and initiatives in many different countries.

  • In a separate move, the world's largest global investors have issued a joint call for strong action this year from international policy makers to control global warming. Signed by 181 investors, who collectively manage more than $13 trillion in assets worldwide, the statement on the "urgent need for global agreement on climate change" was released at the International Investor Forum on Climate Change in New York, last week. (See the ENS report here)

The full text of The Copenhagen Communique is available in 19 different languages at www.copenhagencommunique.com, with the list of companies that have endorsed it so far and supporting quotes from their business leaders.