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Multinationals back UN climate pact to tackle global warming

September 23, 2019

Ahead of the UN Climate summit on 23 September 2019, 59 more multinational corporations (MNCs) have committed to the Paris Agreement target that requires companies to reduce their emissions in line with a 1.5°C global temperature rise and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The latest tranche of support brings the total number of 1.5°C-committed companies to 87, since the target was launched in July 2019.

Snapshot: MNC support for the Paris Agreement

  • A total of 87 MNCs have pledged their support since the target was launched in July
  • Includes F&B companies like Danone, Nestle, Sodexo, The Co-operative Group, and more
  • The 87 MNCs are worth over $2.3 trillion in total, and emit greenhouse gases equivalent to 73 coal-fired power plants 

Source: UN Global Compact, Science Based Targets, We Mean Business

Among the signatories are a number of F&B companies including Danone, Nestle, Sodexo, The Co-operative Group, Firmenich, International Flavors and Fragrances, and Viña Concha y Toro.

“Warming beyond 1.5°C is a calamity we simply must not risk,” said Andrew Steer, SBTi Board Member and president and CEO of the World Resources Institute. “Science-based targets provide a blueprint for companies to make a clear contribution to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, but we need all hands on deck. There is not a minute to lose.”

“These bold companies are leading the way towards a positive tipping point where 1.5°C-aligned corporate strategies are the new normal for businesses and their supply chains around the world. This is the type of transformative change we need to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals for both people and planet,” said Lise Kingo, CEO and executive director of the UN Global Compact.

“Warming beyond 1.5°C is a calamity we simply must not risk.”

 The tranche of companies are worth over $2.3 trillion in total, and as a whole, emit greenhouse gases equivalent to 73 coal-fired power plants. That’s according to figures from the United Nations Global Compact, the Science Based Targets initiative, and the We Mean Business coalition.

The initiative started with a call-to-action in June, which was issued by a group of businesses, civil society, and UN leaders. Taking place in New York, the UN Climate summit is hosting by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. It provides an opportunity for governments, businesses, and other stakeholders to present clear plans of action aligned with the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warned of catastrophic consequences should global warming exceed 1.5°C.

The news also comes just before the opening of Climate Week NYC. Guterres has challenged attending governments to bring a revamped national climate action plan to the summit along with long-term net-zero targets. 

Private companies are also collaborating to create a positive feedback loop known as an “ambition loop” that consists of government policies and private sector leadership reinforcing each other and together with the hope of taking climate action to the next level.

A call to fight deforestation in the Amazon

The announcement follows another recent statement from 230 investors, with $16.2 trillion in assets  under management (AUM), demanding that corporations take more aggressive action to combat deforestation.

“It is with deep concern that we follow the escalating crisis of deforestation and forest fires in Brazil and Bolivia. As investors, who have a fiduciary duty to act in the best long-term interests of our beneficiaries, we recognize the crucial role that tropical forests play in tackling climate change, protecting biodiversity and ensuring ecosystem services,” read the statement.

Check out our coverage of possible tech to tackle the ongoing Amazon rainforest fires, here.

Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact assists companies around the world with aligning their operations and strategies to comport with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. The initiative guides and supports the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 9,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, along with 70 local networks, it is one of the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

The Science Based Targets Initiative encourages companies to set science-based targets and to boost their competitive advantage when transitioning to a low-carbon operation. It is a collaboration between the CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute, and the World Wide Fund for Nature, and one of the We Mean Business coalition commitments. It defines and promotes best practices in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ self-determined targets.

The We Mean Business coalition is a global group of nonprofit organizations working with influential businesses around the world to take action on climate change. The coalition brings together seven organizations: BSR, CDP, Ceres, Sir Richard Branson-founded The B Team, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Stay tuned as we bring you stories from the UN Climate Summit as they develop.

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