Stepping up business action to 1.5°C

Published: 17 Sep 2019
Type: News

Geneva, 16 September 2019 – The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has today joined other organizations to endorse the ‘Business Ambition for 1.5°C’ initiative calling on companies to take 1.5°C-aligned climate action and commit to the 1.5 Pledge.

Ahead of next week’s UN Climate Action Summit in New York City, WBCSD is calling on companies to commit to setting an ambitious climate target aligned with what science says is needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This can be done by either taking on a 1.5°C Science Based Target or committing to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

The 2018 Special Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C was absolutely clear: While achieving a limitation of global warming to 1.5°C is possible, economies and societies worldwide must undergo rapid and far-reaching transformation at unprecedented speed and scale.

The climate emergency is a present-day reality. This is the moment for all society to accelerate progress towards the achievement of a net-zero emissions economy and business is ready to lead. Recent announcements of climate action towards net-zero emissions by companies, including Unilever, Daimler, Gucci and Nestlé, demonstrate that business is moving. But this is still not enough to get us on track. We are calling on all business to step-up ambition to 1.5°C. 

Peter Bakker, WBCSD’s President and CEO, said “The science is clear: we must stay within the safe operating space of 1.5°C to limit the disastrous impacts of climate change. This is achievable but requires urgent and ambitious action by all. By setting 1.5°C-compliant climate targets, businesses will position themselves as drivers of change and leaders in this global effort. WBCSD is pleased to support this important initiative and is committed to mobilizing companies, helping them understand their mitigation options and supporting companies on this crucial journey towards net-zero emissions.”

As part of this pledge, companies will be asked to commit to reach net-zero for all greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.

“Reaching net-zero emissions for a company means reducing emissions in their value chains and balancing the impact of any remaining greenhouse gas emissions with carbon removals. This will result in no net impact on climate. It will require unprecedented level of action to electrify energy uses with clean power, maximize circular opportunities to reduce resource consumption and waste, clean transport of goods and services, and invest in nature to increase the carbon sequestration of forests and land” said María Mendiluce, Managing Director and member of WBCSD Senior Management Team.

In order to achieve the scale of change needed, companies must also become agents of transformative change beyond their own direct operations – using their full range of influence to accelerate economy-wide action. We will look to companies to work with governments to ensure that systems transformation is achieved while ensuring that communities can thrive and that economies build resilience to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

WBCSD will be working with our members and partners to support companies along their journey to set and implement targets and strategies on the path to achieving net-zero emissions. As part of the We Mean Business coalition, we are working to deliver on this ambition through a sustained collective effort and determined action.  

The urgency of the climate emergency demands clear leadership and strong collaboration. Together with our partners in government, business is ready for this challenge.

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