In largest ever UN-backed CEO-led climate advocacy effort, major multinationals reaffirm their own science-based commitments to achieving zero carbon economy and call on governments to match their ambition.
155 companies — with a combined market capitalization of over US$ 2.4 trillion and representing over 5 million employees — have signed a statement urging Governments around the world to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with the latest climate science.
As countries work on economic aid and recovery packages in response to COVID-19, the companies, which are all part of the Science Based Targets initiative, are calling for policies that will build resilience against future shocks by supporting efforts to hold global temperature rise to within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, in line with reaching net-zero emissions well before 2050.
The signatories span 34 sectors and have headquarters in 33 countries. In Switzerland, they include: Coca-Cola European Partners, dormakaba, Firmenich, Kuehne + Nagel International AG, LafargeHolcim, Nestlé S.A, Novartis, Syngenta Group, and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd.
Antonio Hautle, Executive Director of the Global Compact Network Switzerland & Liechtenstein, endorses this commitment and says “Only if we have companies that take responsibility and publicly commit to it we can succeed in delivering the greatest impact for people, prosperity and the planet” and calls on business leaders to join the initiative.
The statement from companies comes as governments around the world work on packages to help recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and as they prepare to submit enhanced national climate plans under the Paris agreement.
“Saving lives and livelihoods, and building a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable future, are at the heart of our efforts to recover from COVID-19,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “We can beat the virus, address climate change and create new jobs through actions that move us from the grey to green economy. Many companies are showing us that it is indeed possible and profitable to adopt sustainable, emission-reducing plans even during difficult times like this. I warmly welcome the ambitious, science-based actions we are seeing from leading companies who are demonstrating to policy-makers that green growth remains the best growth strategy.”
The 155 companies have already set, or committed to set, science-based emissions reduction targets. By signing the statement, they are reaffirming that their own decisions and actions remain grounded in science, while calling on governments to “prioritize a faster and fairer transition from a grey to a green economy.” Policy and spending that incorporates climate targets will reduce vulnerability to future shocks and disasters, create good jobs, reduce emissions and ensure clean air, according to a study from Oxford University.