Business leadership on climate action and building resilience

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This WBCSD session discussed the impacts of COVID-19 on climate action and saw business leaders reflect on how their companies continue to take action to accelerate the transition to a net-zero GHG emissions, resilient global economy.

Here are the key takeaways:

1. Despite the challenging impacts of COVID-19, many businesses continue to demonstrate leadership on climate action. Companies are recognizing that the climate crisis is the emergency that will not go away. By listening to science, we can build back better a more resilient global economy, which will be crucial to addressing the climate challenge.

2. Through major initiatives like the Climate Ambition Allianceand the “Race to Zero” Campaign, the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the implementation of TCFD to disclose climate risks, and WBCSD’s newly launched SOS 1.5, leading businesses are sending clear signals of change and leadership.

3. More than ever, climate leadership in 2020 is manifested by companies setting ambitious targets — even if they don’t know if or when they will achieve them. Often, more is possible than what was originally thought would be — this helps drive the imagination and innovation necessary to deliver systems transformation. Climate action absolutely requires collective leadership: policy-makers, investors, businesses, cities and consumers must all play their part in the ambition loop.

4. This is a transformational moment for society that obliges us to consider solutions across a broader economic context. Achieving global emissions reduction and building resilience requires the right types of policies: e.g. carbon pricinginstruments, investments in natural climate solutions, regulations obliging private sector disclosure of climate risks (e.g. TCFD), and others. These can be the critical enablers needed to shift investments and accelerate ambitious efforts to achieve 1.5°C aligned climate action.

5. We must recognize that the climate change emergency is a systemic global issue.While business climate efforts continue to scale up, the broader global situation continues to deteriorate, and many people focus on the latter, to the detriment of the former. Business has a crucial role in rebalancing this perspective and encouraging a more positive ‘can do’ attitude, focusing on science-based target setting and technological solutions. The responsibility for climate policy makers is to build bridges between policy actions in other areas (nature, agriculture, water, etc.) and work towards systemic change.

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