Posted by Lise Kingo, Executive Director, UN Global Compact on 12 December 2015
We congratulate the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christina Figueres, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius and Government leaders from 195 countries for this historic milestone. The ambition of political leaders to hold ‘the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C,’ clearly demonstrates the political will to address the climate change threat.
We believe the Paris Agreement sends the right market signals which will provide predictability, unlock capital, drive innovation and reward responsible business. It is no longer a question of if we transition to a low carbon economy. Rather, it is a question of how.
Never before have we seen this level of engagement from business and it is clear that the momentum is unstoppable. The private sector should also be applauded for inserting good business practices into the COP21 process and by sending the message that a solid climate agreement was indeed needed and wanted.
As referenced in the Paris Agreement, the private sector has an important role to play and we believe that responsible business can help to fill the gap between what has been committed by Governments through the INDCs and what is needed to reach a carbon neutral economy by mid-century.
At the UN Global Compact, we have built the largest coalition of businesses that are taking action on climate. Since 2007, our Caring for Climate initiative with UNEP and UNFCCC has brought more than 450 companies together to advance the power of sustainable business. Since 2013, Caring for Climate signatories have reduced their carbon footprints by 12%. Their new targets announced this week at COP 21, if achieved, will generate an estimated annual emissions savings of 93.6 million metric tons CO2e or more than the annual carbon emissions of Peru.
Coming out of Paris, we need 100% participation by the private sector. We must increase the pace and ambition of corporate sustainability as the risks and opportunities are now even more apparent. Working closely with our local networks in more than 80 countries, we will continue to inspire companies to transform their business models, reallocate their capital to invest in technologies that reduce carbon emission, and be transparent about their efforts to ensure that commitments are met.
We must continue the solidarity and unity that has brought the global community together in order to move from negotiations to implementation and create the world that we want to live in.
We at the UN Global Compact are ready to help government and business leaders meet this challenge.