This open letter was signed in advance of the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015.
We are CEOs from 79 companies and 20 economic sectors. With operations in over 150 countries and territories, together we generated over $2.1 trillion of revenue in 2014.
In the spirit of the World Economic Forum to foster public-private cooperation, we affirm that the private sector has a responsibility to engage actively in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to help the world move to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.
We call upon governments to take bold action at the Paris climate conference (COP 21) in December 2015 to secure a more prosperous world for all of us. We are already taking action, and we stand ready to work together with the international community to help deliver practical climate solutions.
Below is a statement we prepared that outlines our vision:
Climate change is one of the biggest global challenges that will shape the way we do business now and in the coming decades.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties 21 (COP21), to be held in Paris in December 2015, aims to deliver a new climate change agreement that will put the world on track to a low-carbon, sustainable future while keeping the rise in global temperature to under 2 degrees Celsius.
This coalition, comprising CEOs from 79 companies with operations in over 150 countries and territories, and facilitated by the World Economic Forum, believes the private sector has a responsibility to actively engage in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and to help lead the global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. This coalition further seeks to catalyze and aggregate action and initiatives from companies from all industry sectors — towards delivering concrete climate solutions and innovations in their practices, operations and policies.
The undersigned, as CEO climate leaders, urge the world’s leaders to reach an ambitious climate deal at COP21, aligned with the UN Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We extend an open offer to national governments to meet and co-design tangible actions as well as ambitious, effective targets that are appropriate for their different jurisdictions.
The companies we represent are taking voluntary actions to reduce environmental and carbon footprints, setting targets to reduce our own GHG gas emissions and/or energy consumption while also collaborating in supply chains and at sectoral levels. Technological innovations will be an important element.We agree on the need for inspirational and meaningful global action and aligned messaging. We will act as ambassadors for climate action, focusing on solutions and economic opportunities and using “the science debate is over: climate change is real and addressable”* as one of the common themes to raise public awareness.We will actively manage climate risks and incorporate them in decision making — not least to realize growth opportunities. We will take steps to implement effective strategies to strengthen not only our companies’ but also societal resilience.
Our vision supporting a climate deal
We believe that effective climate policies have to include explicit or implicit prices on carbon achieved via market mechanisms or coherent legislative measures according to national preferences, which will trigger low-carbon investment and transform current emission patterns at a significant scale. We support global mitigation approaches that promote cost effective incentives for cutting emissions, while respecting level playing fields and preventing carbon leakage.We urge a strategic action agenda — supported by clear and consistent policies and robust monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) — that will complement business efforts to stimulate innovation as well as collaborative actions across value chains, and to develop and scale up alternative and renewable energy sources, promote energy efficiency, end deforestation and accelerate other low-carbon options and technologies such as ICT.We welcome transparency and disclosure regarding financial investments and policies in relation to all energy-related activities — including fossil-based and alternative. We support assessments of resilience to climate risks and call for new financial instruments to stimulate alternative energy and efficiency projects as well as green bonds. This will enable climate action to be integrated with financial reporting and instruments.We encourage governments to set science-based global and national targets for the reduction of GHG emissions and the development of alternative energy sources.
Hastening the shift to a low-carbon economy in an economically sustainable manner will generate growth and jobs in both the developing and developed world. Delaying action is not an option — it will be costly and will damage growth prospects in the years to come. The CEO climate leaders call on government leaders and policy makers to align on global measures, to be consistent in policy-making and to develop helpful innovation frameworks.
A comprehensive, inclusive and ambitious climate deal in Paris on mitigation, adaptation and finance — in combination with a strong set of clear policy signals from the world’s leaders — is key to accelerating this transition. This opportunity should not be missed.
* We will build on the data presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the UN, NASA, and the New Climate Economy Report (“Seizing the Global Opportunity”) of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.
Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO, ABB ª *
Pierre Nanterme, Chairman and CEO, Accenture ª *
José Manuel Entrecanales Domecq, Chairman and CEO, Acciona ª * ^
Ton Büchner, CEO, AkzoNobel ª
Philippe Camus, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Alcatel-Lucent
Oliver Bäte, Chairman of the Board of Management (CEO), Allianz SE ª
Gregory Hodkinson, Chairman, Arup Group ª
Johan C. Aurik, Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board, A.T. Kearney ª
Carlos Fadigas, CEO, Braskem
Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT Group ª * ^
Paulo Roberto de Souza, CEO, Copersucar *
Niels B. Christiansen, President and CEO, Danfoss ª
Frank Appel, CEO, Deutsche Post DHL Group ª *
Timotheus Höttges, CEO, Deutsche Telekom
Nigel Knowles, Global Co-Chairman, DLA Piper ª
Henrik Poulsen, CEO, DONG Energy ª
Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager, Enel SpA ª
Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman and CEO, Engie ª *
Hans E. Vestberg, President and CEO, Ericsson ª
Marcelo Strufaldi Castelli, CEO, Fibria Celulose *
Bernardo Gradin, CEO, GranBio Investimentos ª
Dong Mingzhu, Chairperson and President of Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai ª
Kasper Rorsted, CEO, Henkel AG & Co ª *
Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Construction Company ª
Stuart Gulliver, Group CEO, HSBC Holdings ª
Ignacio S. Galán, Chairman and CEO, Iberdrola ª
Peter Agnefjäll, President and CEO, IKEA Group ª *
Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys ª *
Ralph Hamers, CEO, ING Group ª
Ravi Uppal, Group MD & CEO, Jindal Steel & Power ª
Li Xiande , Chairman, JinkoSolar Holding Co
Alex Molinaroli, Chairman, President and CEO, Johnson Controls ª
Sajjan Jindal, Chairman, JSW Steel ª
Fabio Schvartsman, CEO, Klabin
Sandra Wu Wen-Hsiu, Chairperson and CEO, Kokusai Kogyo Co. ª
Eric Olsen, CEO, LafargeHolcim ª *
Inga Beale, CEO, Lloyd’s ª
Anand G. Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group ª
Jonas Prising, CEO, ManpowerGroup ª
Marc Bolland, CEO, Marks and Spencer ª
Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft ª
Nikolaus von Bomhard, Chairman of the Board of Management, Munich Re ª
Paul Bulcke, CEO, Nestlé ª *
Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo Inc ª *
Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO, PensionDanmark ª
Eric Rondolat, CEO, Philips Lighting ª
Dennis Nally, Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers International *
Feike Sijbesma, CEO and Chairman of the Managing Board, Royal DSM ª * ^
Eelco Blok, CEO, Royal KPN
Frans van Houten, President and CEO, Royal Philips ª * ^
Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and CEO, Schneider Electric ª *
Eric Luo, CEO, Shunfeng International Clean Energy Limited ª
Joe Kaeser, President and CEO, Siemens ª *
Franky Oesman Widjaja, Chairman and CEO, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food ª
Zhang Xin (CEO) and Pan Shiyi (Chairman), Co-Founders, SOHO China ª
Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO, Solvay ª *
Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, President and CEO, Statkraft ª *
Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO, Suez ª *
Takeshi Niinami, President and CEO, Suntory Holdings ª
Walter Schalka, CEO, Suzano Pulp and Paper ª *
Tulsi Tanti, Chairman, Suzlon Energy ª
Michel M. Liès, Group CEO, Swiss Re ª
Cyrus P. Mistry, Chairman, Tata Sons ª *
Michel Giannuzzi, CEO, Tarkett ª
Donald R. Lindsay, President & CEO, Teck Resources ª
Andrew N. Liveris, President, Chairman and CEO, The Dow Chemical
Company ª *
David W. Kenny, Chairman and CEO, The Weather Company ª
Masashi Muromachi, Chairman of the Board, Toshiba Corporation ª *
Gao Jifan, Chairman and CEO, Trina Solar ª
Sergio Ermotti, CEO, UBS Group ª
Oleg Deripaska, President, UC Rusal ª
Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever ª * ^
Antoine Frérot, Chairman and CEO, Veolia ª *
Anders Runevad, Group President and CEO, Vestas Wind Systems ª
Anthony Pratt, Executive Chairman, Visy Industries ª
João Carvalho de Miranda, CEO, Votorantim Industrial *
Vineet Mittal, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Welspun Energy ª
Kuok Khoon Hong, Chairman and CEO, Wilmar International ª
T.K. Kurien, CEO, Wipro Limited ª
ª Members of the World Economic Forum
*Member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
^Member of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change
Key Initiatives and Platforms Taking Action With Business on Climate Change:
-Business and Climate Summit
-Climate Disclosure Standards Board
- CDPCeresInstitutional Investor Group on Climate Change
- Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change
- The Climate GroupThe Global Commission on the Economy and Climate
- The Non-state Actor Zone for Climate Action
- Tropical Forest Alliance 2020
- UN Climate Summit 2014: Catalyzing Action
- UN Global Compact
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- We Mean Business
- World Bank Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development
- World Economic Forum Global Challenge Initiative on Environment, Climate Change and Resource Security
*Since first publication, this article has been updated to add additional signatories to the open letter.