Good COP, BAD COP – Mexico 2010

A Call to Action from the UNFCCC
by -- December 6th, 2010

This morning I attended the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Global Business Day for a keynote speech by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Her message was a call to action for the business community.

As the face of the global climate regime, Figueres’ presence highlighted the theme of the day – business and policy can no longer operate in separate spheres. Without each other, we won’t see the much needed progress towards an international agreement to address climate change.

She recognized WBCSD companies for their leadership in sustainable economic growth, but did not hesitate to ask for more. Acknowledging that many of the companies in the room have already picked the low hanging fruit, she asked the questions: What can you do next? What is new and additional? Her call to action was simple and clear:

  1. Embed sustainability up and down your value chain. Companies should be pressuring suppliers to improve environmental performance, and educating consumers about the environmental impacts of product choices.
  2. Promote transformation across your whole sector. By working with peers, sectors can reach economies of scale that will push sustainable technologies and practices to the next level.
  3. Challenge political constituencies to go beyond current positions on environmental policy. By engaging with government in a positive way, we can show the private sector’s commitment to moving forward to a more sustainable economy. This will send the message that the business community is ready to support real policy changes.
  4. Bring colleagues in developing countries on board. American companies are in a position to demonstrate leadership to the international business community. By demonstrating the financial value of environmental stewardship, American companies can lead the way for developing economies to follow suit.

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