Business world in spotlight at COP20: big companies commit to climate policy responsibility

Reading time: 5 minutes
8 December 2014

LONDON: A UN report showing that almost 30 of the world's biggest companies are serious about climate policy, has been released half way through COP20 which is taking place in Lima this week.

New publication, Where Do Companies Stand on Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy?, aims to make good corporate policy engagement on climate change mainstream.

The report marks a year after Caring for Climate – a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme and the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as five partner organizations, World Resources InstituteCDPWWFCeres and The Climate Group  established its first guidelines for responsible business lobbying on climate policy.

Drawing on interviews with over 75 business and policy leaders from 20 countries, the Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy set baseline expectations for companies, offering them an essential guide to manage and report on their influences on climate policy, for the first time.

Since then almost 30 companies have committed to follow the guidelines, including BT Group, CLP Holdings Limited, H&M Hennes & Mauritz, Honda Motor Company, Nestle and Royal Philips

In the update report – the second in a series to be released in the lead up to global climate talks in Paris next year – it is revealed that among other activities, the majority of companies support legislation to put a price on carbon, fund research organizations to produce public work on climate change, and take part in working groups or committees on climate action. 

Authors also list examples of ongoing efforts where business leaders can engage climate policymakers, including We Mean Business and RE100, which are both joint initiatives of The Climate Group. 

As outlined in the first update, which took the form of an executive briefing of the initial report and was published this September during Climate Week NYC, the guidelines instruct companies to focus on three key actions:

  • identify climate risk, opportunities and influences;
  • align internal and external messaging, positions and investments; and
  • publicly report carbon and climate actions and outcomes.

By committing to the guidelines, the new companies agree to implement these three actions.

Explaining the importance of the research, Damian Ryan, Head of International Policy, The Climate Group said: “For business and policy decision-makers seeking to understand how to navigate toward a prosperous low carbon economy, the new Executive Brief on responsible corporate engagement should be required reading.”

Damian Ryan also pointed to UN climate chief Christiana Figueres’ comments at COP19 in Poland last year as indicative of the need for the initiative. She had said: “Business as usual is history. Businesses face new risks from climate change and have new opportunities in addressing climate change, but our current business model is woefully inadequate to rise to our new realities. We need you to ask Governments for regulatory clarify, for a level playing field that doesn’t subsidise carbon and for policy that provides a stable platform to develop strategy”.

Today, the report will be discussed at an event at COP20 in Lima, moderated by Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group. Other speakers include Diego de la Torre, La Viga, Antonio Marcondes de Carvalho, Head of Delegation from Brazil*, Hélène Valade, Suez Environment and Nigel Topping, CDP.

Taking place from December 8-9, 2014, the event, Caring for Climate Business Forum, is a key side event at COP20, as the pressure is on for all actors, especially business, to support a framework at Lima that will lead to a global, legal climate agreement at COP21 in Paris next year.

Visit for more information and read the new report here

Want to read more about COP? Over the next two weeks we are releasing pre and post-COP briefings as well as producing COP20 coverage in our news and blogs and on Twitter. Our States & Regions events in Lima can be tracked on hashtag #statesandregions.

And in case you missed it, here's our CEO Mark Kenber's op-ed "If we fail in Lima, we will fail in Parisand our infographic showing the history of the COP negotiations.



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