This week, our annual Liaison Delegate (LD) Meeting takes place in Montreux, Switzerland: gathering leading business sustainability experts from around the world to engage and share updates on the latest industry developments, positioning them as critical change agents in their businesses. At the LD meeting, in partnership with our members, we are focusing on the critical areas of WBCSD’s transformation efforts, creating the building blocks of change, including driving the Energy Transition, achieving Nature Positive Business, advancing Equity Action, implementing a Corporate Accountability System for Carbon, and shaping our Education offering.
Despite the ever more complicated state of the world, there is a real sense of progress in sustainability by looking at how the agendas of G7, G20 and COP28 align around the need to drive Climate and Nature action to the required levels. On the Corporate Accountability System front, the ISSB reporting framework for Climate Disclosures will be launched in the next few months; whilst the TNFD has its final framework for integrating Biodiversity impacts into the governance and disclosures out for consultation.
To illustrate the first point, looking at the highlights of the Sapporo G7 Communiqué issued after the G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministerial Meeting on 15-16 April is worth drawing your attention to. WBCSD’s presence there had a strong impact:
- G7 support for ISSB for its work to develop a global baseline for sustainability reporting standards and its work beyond climate and into nature.
- Launch of the G7 Alliance on Nature Positive Economy (G7NPE) to help mobilize government and businesses to implement TNFD and shift to nature positive.
- G7 endorsement of the Japan Ministry of Environment’s Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency Principles (CEREP). To complement and buttress the CEREP principles, WBCSD is advancing the concept of a Global Circularity Protocol. We will launch the work on the Circularity Protocol before the G7 Leader’s Summit in Hiroshima and welcome further interest from G7 member countries to engage with it.
- G7 Commitment to building transparency, monitoring and reporting on plastics pollution and use (reduction) along crucial value chains.
- The G7 Communiqué acknowledged WBCSD’s efforts toward the release of the first Avoided Emissions Guidelines. WBCSD is thrilled to work with METI and its member companies on this initiative.
On the topic of the Carbon Accountability Framework, we are pleased to announce that the Bezos Earth Fund has awarded USD $9.25 million to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), which is co-convened by the World Resources Institute and WBCSD. This support will allow GHG Protocol to upgrade and clarify its existing standards, create new guidance, and provide further technical services to businesses. In parallel, the work to develop the methodology and data exchange protocol for the Scope 3 accounting has progressed massively in the PACT initiative. It is now in the real-time test phase in several global supply chains.
The Business Commission to Tackle Inequality (BCTI) has launched its flagship report during the plenary day in Montreux – an important milestone, driven by 60 (business and non-business) Commissioners for the last two years. It marks a new boundary for business leadership. It is the start of a holistic action agenda to take forward equity action as a collective, responding to the need to tackle the systemic risk of mounting inequality together. The report contains ten action areas for business – from implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to realizing the just transition to a net zero and nature-positive economy. Later this year, we will integrate Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) and BCTI into the globally leading Equity Action platform. We will work to define the corporate social accountability system, the S in ESG, as we are doing for carbon and nature.
The meeting in Montreux has also been used to look forward to COP28, which will be held from 30 November to 12 December in Dubai, UAE. WBCSD has been in close contact with the UAE COP28 team to help shape the agenda. Of course, we are aware of some skepticism around having the Climate meeting held in the UAE. Still, our interaction indicates that the COP28 leadership is keen to get the Climate discussion back on track for a 1.5˚ C world and aims to put business at the forefront of climate action. A quick overview of the significant elements in development:
- On 28 and 29 November, the days before the official start of COP28, we will host the WBCSD Council Meeting (CM) in Dubai, leveraging the many high-level speakers available. I kindly ask you all to reserve these dates in your calendar, as it will be essential to have you and other CEOs part of this gathering.
- Our collaboration with the COP28 teams focuses on four critical tracks of action:
- A big push for decarbonization action in the Oil & Gas and hard-to-abate sectors through the Global Decarbonization Alliance (GDA).
- Substantial involvement in the Corporate Carbon Accountability System track by working on the design of a framework that will make it easy for many businesses to adopt.
- WBDSD will be co-chairing the private sector pillar of the COP28 Food track, together with The Climate Champions and BCG. We are helping establish an ambitious and focused agenda on regenerative agriculture which will be announced soon by the COP28 team.
- The Nature Positive business agenda led by WBCSD is well supported by the COP28 Presidency, and the preparer forum work we are leading for SBTN & TNFD as part of the Nature Positive Roadmap guidance will feature in the COP28 priorities. Our developing work to scale investment into nature-based assets to help deliver 1.5 and the Global Biodiversity Framework will also deliver into COP28 priorities.
As you can see, much ground to cover in Montreux (and beyond), inspiring the sustainability teams with new knowledge and engagement opportunities.
To reflect how all of this contributes to system transformation, the theme of the meeting is“building blocks of transformation”, derived from the updated value proposition of WBCSD to its member companies – as we strive to provide business leaders with the building blocks of transformation, to raise the ambition to achieve a better world, deliver action at speed and scale in operations and value chains, and sharpen the accountability of performance.
Peter Bakker, President & CEO at World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)