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World Economic Forum CEO Climate Leaders call for continued action toward net-zero emissions

"We need to see commitments increase as part of the global Race to Zero Campaign"

"We need to see commitments increase as part of the global Race to Zero Campaign" Image: Unsplash

Klaus Schwab
Founder, Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
Brian Moynihan
Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of America
Christian Mumenthaler
Group Chief Executive Officer, Swiss Re Group, Switzerland
Jesper Brodin
Chief Executive Officer, Ingka Group (IKEA)
Feike Sybesma
Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Royal Philips
Rich Lesser
Global Chair, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
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Davos Agenda

This article is part of: The Davos Agenda
  • This letter invites more CEOs to make net-zero commitments and to join the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders to turn commitments into action ahead of COP26.
  • This is a follow-up from the letter sent to participants, and the launch of the Net-Zero Challenge, in January 2020.

Dear members, partners and friends of the World Economic Forum:

Climate change remains the greatest global challenge we face in the coming years. While countries struggle with the immense human tragedy of the COVID-19 crisis, and the associated economic consequences and societal disruption, it is important we strive to ensure that climate action does not become a second-tier priority in the recovery. The COVID crisis offers the opportunity for a Great Reset and to build back better. Greenhouse gas emissions dropped for the first time since the Second World War—by about 6-8% in 2020 and we need an equivalent sustained reduction every year for the next 30 years to get us on track for the Paris Agreement.

Last year, we wrote a letter asking all Forum members for a commitment to set a target to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner. This challenge was born out of the first Net-Zero Challenge report with BCG, looking into the current state of global climate action taken by companies and governments, and providing a clear way forward. The Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, our flagship community of currently 83 CEOs believes the private sector has a responsibility to actively engage in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to help lead the global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. We have seen momentum building among more of our Forum membership base and will continue to work with all our members on their journey to net-zero.

Let us make 2021—the 6th year since the signing of the Paris Agreement—a year for unparalleled global climate action.

Klaus Schwab, Brian T. Moynihan, Christian Mumenthaler, Jesper Brodin, Feike Sybesma and Rich Lesser

Building on this, the second stage of the Net-Zero Challenge looks at the Supply Chain Opportunity in a joint Forum and BCG report, which launched ahead of the Davos Agenda week from 25-29 January. The report shows why taking action to decarbonize supply chains perspective can be a game-changer for global climate action. The report provides nine pragmatic steps for executives to take to understand and reduce their supply chain emissions. Collaboration along supply chains is required on a huge scale to bend the emissions curve downwards and get on track to deliver the Paris Agreement. We strongly urge all Forum members look beyond their direct operational footprints and setting robust, Paris-aligned Scope 3 targets in addition to net-zero targets on their Scopes 1 and 2.

We need to see commitments increase as part of the global Race to Zero Campaign as we move towards COP26 negotiations in November. It is vital that the business community takes a clear leadership role, by establishing high ambition in its own areas shaping the practicalities of implementation and advocating for the policies supporting the required transformation of the global economy.

The Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders will spearhead this effort across the world of business, creating a joint call to action that turns ambition into commitments at COP26. Co-Chairs Jesper Brodin, CEO Ingka Group (IKEA) and Christian Mumenthaler, CEO Swiss Re, Founder and Co-Chair, Feike Sijbesma, Honorary Chairman, Royal DSM, and Chief Advisor Rich Lesser, CEO, BCG, are at the forefront. The International Business Council, chaired by Brian Moynihan, also supports this message, and has focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations as indicators of long-term value creation. At the 2020 Sustainable Development Impact Summit, the International Business Council together with Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC released a recommended set of ESG metrics and disclosures for all companies to report on across industries and geographies.

These Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics are drawn from existing voluntary standards and are organized along four pillars: Principles of Governance, Planet, People, and Prosperity. The Planet pillar includes reporting on greenhouse gas emissions and TCFD alignment as a core metric. By adopting and reporting on these metrics the business community will continue to catalyze greater cooperation and alignment among existing standards and encourage progress on the development of a systemic, globally accepted set of common standards for non-financial reporting.

We encourage you once again, as a leader of one of the world’s foremost global companies and as a valued partner of the World Economic Forum, to commit to net-zero emissions across all emissions scopes by 2050 or sooner if you have not done so already. Let us make 2021—the 6th year since the signing of the Paris Agreement—a year for unparalleled global climate action. For more information, please review the net-zero Q&A and find out more about joining the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders.

Have you read?

We look forward to hearing more about your net-zero commitments and hope that COP26 in November is a breakthrough moment for business action on climate change. We thank you in advance for your consideration and leadership in helping the world address this urgent global issue.


Klaus Schwab, Chairman, World Economic Forum

Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO, Bank of America, Chair, International Business Council

Christian Mumenthaler, CEO, Swiss Re, Co-Chair to the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders

Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group I IKEA, Co-Chair to the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders

Feike Sijbesma, Honorary Chairman of Royal DSM, Co-Chair to the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, Member of World Economic Forum Board of Trustees

Rich Lesser, CEO, BCG, Chief Advisor to the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders

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