Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, sends an open letter on World Environment Day to the company’s trade associations and business groups to confirm their position on climate policy is consistent with our views and the 1.5 degree ambition of the Paris Agreement.

The letter:

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face, as a society and as a business. If we are to avoid the catastrophic consequences of global heating, urgent action is required to shift our economies onto a zero carbon pathway.

Like many businesses, we are seeking to accelerate climate action within our own operations and within our wider value chain.

However, it is increasingly clear that tackling climate change at the speed and scale necessary requires wider transformational changes to the systems in which we operate. This requires strong government policy that creates the right context for further change and accelerated business action.

Unilever advocates for policies that advance the goal of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees, and ideally no more than 1.5 degrees, above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. We believe this means achieving a net zero emissions world by 2050.

We have also supported, since its creation, the United Nations Global Compact’s Commitment to Responsible Engagement in Climate Policy, which calls for companies and trade associations to ensure their lobbying aligns with their public position on climate change.

We are entering a critical period for climate action, as governments consider whether to raise their national climate ambition ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference – COP26 – in 2020. We would invite all our trade associations and business groups that are engaged on climate policy to consider whether the level of ambition for which they are advocating is truly consistent with the deep emissions cuts implicit in the Paris Agreement and that the latest science makes clear are necessary.

The climate crisis has now reached a point where there can be no room for misinterpretation on the scale of the challenge, or indeed on the importance of regulatory measures to support businesses in driving the transition to a net zero emissions economy.

As a result, I would be grateful if you could confirm whether, as a trade association or business group of which Unilever is a member, your current lobbying position on climate policy is consistent with Unilever’s position and the 1.5 degree ambition set out in the Paris Agreement.

More information on our position on climate policy can be found on the Global climate action page on our website.”

Alan Jope

CEO, Unilever

5 June 2019