Business Will Continue the Journey to Deliver the Paris Agreement

Paul Polman, Chairman WBCSD & Peter Bakker, CEO WBCSD
Jun 2, 2017 2:05 PM ET

Adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 was a watershed moment for the world in tackling climate change. At the Paris conference, governments, science, city mayors and company leaders came together to address one of the great challenges of our time. Leading businesses have the solutions, the innovation and the will to reduce the global emissions needed to deliver the Paris Agreement.  

In the same way that the science of climate change is clear, robust and incontrovertible, the business case for climate action is also irrefutable. This is not about responsibility; climate action simply makes sense to avoid risks and to build an economy that will be good for all.

The targets fixed in the Paris Agreement are there to ensure a safe space for humanity. The agreement will protect businesses against environmental instability; it will determine the future competitive positioning of companies through the development and roll out of new technologies and business models; and it will create millions of jobs in green energies and local communities. Companies that have invested in climate action are already rewarded from an increasingly climate-conscious customer base.

These factors make clear why more than 1,000 leading companies have, in recent weeks, re-confirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement. They are demonstrating today that the journey to reduce emissions and future proof business will not be derailed.

At the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), we represent 200 of the world’s largest companies. Together, we work on collaborative business solutions under the framework of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi), more than 160 companies are working on nine scalable climate solutions that collectively have the potential to realise 65% of the emission reductions needed to stay below the 2°C target. These solutions will also support up to 25-45 million jobs each year.

The Paris Agreement represents our best and only option for an international framework to manage the transition to a low carbon economy. Only by working together will we succeed.

Yesterday’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement by the US Federal Government is not good news. However, businesses from around the world will not give up and will double down on their commitments to work together, in order to continue to find new and rewarding solutions in all countries of the world.

The Paris Agreement has made the transformation to a low-carbon economy inevitable. This transition will in the long run be the only way to deliver successful financial results for companies, strong economies with jobs everywhere and a planet that is liveable for all.