Ratcheting up the ambition: Business pushes for more action for a low-carbon economy

Ratcheting up the ambition: Business pushes for more action for a low-carbon economy

Paris, France, 7 December 2015 – With the backdrop of the private sector day at the COP21 in Paris, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres commended the business community for taking decisive steps to combat climate change – as showcased during the business and industry (BINGO) Day coordinated by ICC and at the IETA/WBSCD Open for Business Hub. 

bingo“The interests of governments, the private sector and cities are aligning as never before. In doing so we are witnessing the turning point in the way the global economy prices pollution and invests in real wealth— keys to unlock our collective ambition of an ambitious Paris Agreement in 2015 and catalysts towards keeping a global temperature rise under 2 degrees this century,” said Ms. Figueres during the BINGO day at the climate negotiations in Paris.

The Executive Secretary’s sentiment was shared by French Minister of Foreign Affairs and COP21 President Laurent Fabius, who underlined that “through the Lima Paris Action Agenda, we invited companies to commit to mitigation or adaptation actions or sign up to a ‘transformational initiative’ organized by several major organizations and coalitions. They seized this opportunity and proved that they are ready to support the transition to a low-carbon economy. That’s a positive signal that they are sending to governments in order to encourage them to set ambitious targets.” 

The thematic day, coordinated by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) together with partner organisations and endorsed by IETA, WBCSD and We Mean Business Coalition, saw key decision-makers from the corporate world gather to share expertise in technology cooperation and development, climate finance and research and development.    

 “We are seeing a transformational shift with businesses across the world taking action to meet the climate challenge. With the right policies in place business can and will do more”, said John Danilovich, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce. “As an organization representing more than 6.5 million members, we are clear that a COP21 must deliver a robust agreement that works with business to support climate action at an unprecedented rate and scale.”

“It is very exciting to see an unprecedented number of businesses around the world investing in the future growth prospects of the low-carbon economy, making the decarbonization of the economy inevitable, irreversible and irresistible,” said Nigel Topping, CEO of We Mean Business. “A strong climate deal in Paris will give the policy certainty that companies and investors need to drive the low-carbon transition, further and faster.”

The BINGO Day echoed calls for governments to send a clear signal to the private sector about the future direction of global climate policy through a long-term agreement that protects competitiveness, accelerates investment and unleashes the deployment of existing and new technologies and finance in the near and long term. 

Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development said: “Make no mistake. Neither business nor government can solve the climate challenge alone. But if we work together, we can do it. Together, our decisions to take bold climate action will lead the transition to the low-carbon economy that is essential to save our world.”

We believe COP21 provides an opportunity for governments to send out strong policy signals to prompt the next wave of climate action through markets,” continued Dirk Forrister, CEO, IETA. “Simply put: climate action is good for business and the right policy frameworks can help us all go further faster.

Renat Heuberger, CEO South Pole Group, stated: “Private enterprise really plays a pivotal role in furthering the global climate agenda. It is great to see that the business community is getting some much deserved attention here at COP21.”

A single silver bullet will not be sufficient to bring about the systemic change required. Climate action within business must be powered by both radical innovation and by people with the skills and capabilities to trigger this innovation. Business can collaborate to achieve more in responding to this global challenge,” emphasised Bertrand van Ee, CEO, Climate-KIC.

“The growing momentum from the corporate world on climate action shows us that companies have reached a tipping point. They need ambitious policy to achieve their full potential and accelerate action from industry at scale,” added Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of CDP.

“Clean energy solutions exist today to meet the challenges of climate change.  Businesses in these sectors seek policy and investment signals to unlock private capital. The INDCs being considered at COP-21 offer a roadmap for public-private partnership,” said Lisa Jacobson, President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE).

FICCI, the apex business and industry organization in India, believes that “business has a key role to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation through innovation in technology, finance and business models. Indian businesses are demonstrating their own approach to address the climate change challenge. A strong policy signal would help businesses make investment decisions to support longer term efforts,” as highlighted by Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI.

Going forward, private sector innovation, investment and expertise will be vital in successfully combating climate change and promoting inclusive, sustainable growth. Nonetheless as emphasised by the BINGO day attendees and organisers, addressing climate change is equally an imperative and opportunity for the entire business community in all countries – and across every business sector. 


Media contacts

Angela Howarth, European Head of Communications, Climate-KIC 


+44 (0) 7872 850 084

Andrew Wilson, Global Communication Director, ICC

+33 6 70 49 68 74


Katie Kouchakji, Communications, IETA


Anu Ramamurty, Communications, We Mean Business


Felicity Glennie-Holmes, Communications, WBCSD


Nadia Kahkonen, Communications Manager, South Pole Group



Media resources

About Climate-KIC

Climate-KIC is the EU’s largest public private partnership addressing climate change through innovation to build a zero carbon economy.  We address climate change across four priority themes: urban areas, land use, production systems, climate metrics and finance. Education is at the heart of these themes to inspire and empower the next generation of climate leaders.  We run programmes for students, start-ups and innovators across Europe via centres in major cities, convening a community of the best people and organisations. Our approach starts with improving the way people live in cities. Our focus on industry creates the products required for a better living environment, and we look to optimise land use to produce the food people need. Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

About the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the largest, most representative business organization in the world. Its hundreds of thousands of member companies in over 120 countries have interests spanning every sector of private enterprise. A world network of national committees keeps the ICC International Secretariat in Paris informed about national and regional business priorities. More than 2,000 experts drawn from ICC’s member companies feed their knowledge and experience into crafting the ICC stance on specific business issues. The United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G20 and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional, are kept in touch with the views of international business through ICC. ICC is the focal point for business to the UNFCCC. For more information please visit: www.iccwbo.org

About IETA

IETA is the voice of business on carbon markets around the world. Established in 1999, IETA’s members include global leaders in the oil, electricity, cement, aluminium, chemical, technology, data verification, broking, trading, legal, finance, and consulting industries. 

About World Business Council for Sustainable Development

The WBCSD is a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment.

Together with its members, the council applies its respected thought leadership and effective advocacy to generate constructive solutions and take shared action. For more information visit http://www.wbcsd.org/ .

About We Mean Business Coalition

We Mean Business is a coalition of organizations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors. These businesses recognize that the transition to a low carbon economy is the only way to secure sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all. To accelerate this transition, we have formed a common platform to amplify the business voice, catalyze bold climate action by all, and promote smart policy frameworks.

About South Pole Group

The Zurich-based South Pole Group is the world’s leading provider of climate solutions. South Pole Group helps public and private sector organisations develop climate proven policies and strategies. Areas of expertise cover every key sustainability-related area of climate change, including but not limited to: carbon credit solutions, green finance, sustainable cities & buildings, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency. For more information, visit www.thesouthpolegroup.com or follow the company @southpolegroup.


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