The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) today launches the “Business Manifesto for Climate Recovery (Manifesto)” and calls for the development of a new Corporate Determined Contributions (CDCs) mechanism to capture private sector progress in the global climate recovery. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report was unequivocal about the severity of climate change, while UN Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) Synthesis Report indicates that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are on course to rise by 16% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. The world needs urgent climate action, and the private sector has an enormous role to play to accelerate climate action. WBCSD’s Manifesto, launched today at COP26 in the Business Pavilion, is the first time that the world’s most sustainable, ambitious businesses have used their collective voice to outline what is required to accelerate the global climate recovery.
The Manifesto consists of twelve action priorities framed around the imperatives to reduce, remove and report GHG emissions. Each action priority has associated policy requirements which are global in nature and applicable to policymakers in multilateral systems, and, where relevant, to national policymakers.
“The time to act for a net-zero, nature positive and equitable transformation is now,” commented Peter Bakker, President and CEO of WBCSD. “Hot on the heels of the release of our new strategy, the Manifesto provides an added focus on the actions needed now with the biggest impacts to halt temperature rises and support climate recovery. Businesses are ready to deliver pragmatic and impactful solutions and be held accountable for their progress.”
All twelve action priorities require collaboration between the public and private sector. To date, the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) process has not been optimized for collaboration between policymakers and business leaders, but this collaboration will be crucial to achieving climate recovery this century. Furthermore, while the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) mechanism exists to measure the public sector’s contribution to climate recovery, there is no mechanism in place for the private sector. Therefore, WBCSD is calling for the development of a new global framework of Corporate Determined Contributions (CDCs) to capture business progress and delivery against their targets, ambitions and aims.
“Public-private sector collaboration is critical to the global climate recovery. There is a strong desire for existing business climate action to be recognized, but at present, there is no common mechanism in place to measure progress in the private sector,” commented Claire O’Neill, Senior Advisor for Climate & Energy at WBCSD and former COP26 President-Designate. “Therefore, at COP26, we are calling for the development of CDCs to ensure that business action is recognized and held to account in the global fight for climate recovery.”
The CDCs would be a new, common mechanism to assess business progress and delivery against climate action targets to align with the process of setting and delivering national plans, or NDCs. CDCs would be based on reported targets and progress in emissions reduction for annual assessment at the COP. CDCs offer a transparent and measurable approach that would enable business to build trust with regulators, policymakers, and consumers, and avoid unjust accusations of greenwashing.
Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Champion for COP26, said: “COP26 is about action on an ambitious delivery agenda and implementing the promise of the Paris Agreement. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Business Manifesto for Climate Recovery sets out a practical action plan for the private sector, showing how businesses are ready to be held accountable for delivering on their promises as they move from ambition to action.”
Gonzalo Munoz, UN High Level Climate Champion for COP25, added: “The World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Business Manifesto for Climate Recovery sets out a practical action plan for the private sector, showing how business can help deliver a resilient zero carbon economy. From powering up green global grids to decarbonizing supply chains, this Manifesto shows how the global economy is irreversibly aligning to deliver a 1.5C world.”
Alan Jope, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, added: “I am yet to meet a credible business leader that does not recognize the threat of climate change, and the urgent need to deliver the Paris Agreement. Net zero is now table stakes, yet delivering this transformation is far from straight forward. WBCSD have provided a clear guide on priority actions for governments and businesses to secure our future prosperity”.