COP 27: Companies Overcoming Climate Change
The UN Global Compact brought together representatives from the United Nations, governments, and the private sector at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh to galvanize the private sector and industry to assess better environmental risks and opportunities, set and deliver ambitious climate targets, and adopt responsible practices for the transition to a net-zero and resilient world.
During COP27, the world reached a critical milestone: the UN reported last week that the global population hit the 8 billion mark. That's the number of people who now call this planet home, and 8 billion lives are at risk from climate change and its catastrophic impacts. Those in poor, climate-vulnerable countries are hit the hardest.
"The voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard," stressed United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Speaking from Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt after the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27), he affirmed, "This COP has taken an important step toward justice."
According to Edelman's second annual Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust and Climate Change, a global survey of 14,000 people in 14 countries, there are fears that as the climate crisis worsens, business is not trusted to do what is necessary to respond.
Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General, and CEO, of UN Global Compact, speaking during the global climate conference, emphasized the importance of private sector action to tackle the climate crisis:
"We have less than ten years left to shift the world onto a 1.5C trajectory, reduce global inequalities and achieve the substance of the SDG Agenda. Our changing climate means, more than ever, that we are running out of time. It really is now or never for the private sector to turn their bold commitments into tangible solutions to protect our planet and our collective future. The UN Global Compact looks forward to continuing our work with businesses all over the world to accelerate our transition to net-zero."
During COP27, over 50 leading CEOs from across the African continent who are part of the Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) presented the Africa Business Leaders' Climate Statement outlining key commitments companies can make to galvanize climate action. The signatories also called for the global community to fulfill their climate commitments and create an enabling environment for the private sector to unlock climate finance and invest in bankable projects.
The UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) also brought together senior executives of business, industry, finance, civil society, the United Nations, and Government at the High-Level Meeting of Caring for Climate. Those present discussed how to bring forward a strong business message of climate ambition and discussed tangible solutions that lead to sustainable economic growth to realize the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The UN Global Compact also hosted its third annual Uniting Business Africa event with the Africa Hub and Local Networks in Africa. The event focused on how the private sector can accelerate and support climate change initiatives across Africa. Discussions addressed the challenges, successes, and next steps towards implementing green supply chain policies and practices, the importance of food security and adaptation for the region, and renewable energy access and climate resilience.
After marathon negotiations, COP 27 concluded with a long-sought agreement on a fund to help developing nations with loss and damage inflicted by a crisis they did little to cause. While the deal was historic, efforts to keep polluters in check and the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach fell short – signaling that it will take new levels of ambition to ensure a livable future for all 8 billion of us and future generations.
In a follow-up to COP27, the UN Global Compact, in collaboration with UN Global Compact Network USA, will be hosting a webinar titled "COP27 Debrief: What's Next for the Private Sector?" on December 6, 2022, at 9:00 am 10:00 pm ET. This special debrief will help companies understand the key outcomes of COP27 for the private sector. In addition, climate action champions and senior advisers from the UN Secretary-General's Climate Action team will provide context and nuance to the main headlines and share priorities for corporate action to drive progress leading up to COP28 in Dubai next year.
To Register, click here.