As the world faces many economic, political and climate-related challenges, the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) is more important than ever. From higher food prices and fuel costs to a lack of financing and political cohesion to tackle these challenges, we find ourselves in a global bind.
COP 27 is about closing the gap between ambition and action. At this defining moment, the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, aims to accelerate private sector action to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
The private sector plays a crucial role, and businesses headquartered in G20 countries must lead. They must leverage their resources and networks to:
- present credible and science-based decarbonization plans
- send strong market signals
- scale innovative solutions
- unlock climate finance
- advocate for a green and just transition
At COP 27, the UN Global Compact will ensure a strong business presence, especially on three actions:
#1: Speeding up Emissions Reductions
To keep the rise in global temperatures to no more than 1.5°C, we need to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero globally by mid-century. Yet, existing national commitments and reduction targets place us on a pathway to increased pollution. Promises are no longer enough. Stakeholders must be accountable for following through on their commitments with concrete, credible, science-based actions. For the private sector, joining the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and setting near- and long-term targets in line with 1.5°C pathways is the best way to ensure accountability and robust progress towards net zero.
#2: Adjusting to the Effects of Climate Change
As urged by the Secretary-General of the UN time and time again, “adaptation and mitigation must be pursued with equal force and urgency.” Doubling adaptation funding by 2025, as outlined in the Glasgow commitment, is not enough and pushing for 50 per cent of all climate financing to be used for these measures is non-negotiable. While Governments must take the lead in achieving this goal, the private sector holds the power to catalyze action by increasing adaptation efforts and financing within their own operations and the communities in which they work. The UN Global Compact CFO Coalition for the SDGs is working to harness the full potential of corporate finance to empower the sustainability transition for thousands of companies in the UN Global Compact.
#3: Ensuring a Just Transition to Net Zero
As we transition to a greener economy, we must ensure a just transition to net zero by investing in job-rich growth and protection for workers, communities and the lands we work in, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Businesses can help by fostering meaningful social dialogue with their workers and the communities where they operate. It starts by including everyone at the discussion table when formulating climate transition plans. They can also help by re- and up-skilling workers (so they are well-equipped to perform green jobs), upholding labour standards, and being mindful of human rights impacts and environmental degradation risks in business processes.
This article was originally published on UN Global Compact Website.