Around 200 participants attended the Global Business Day, hosted by ICC, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the National Business Initiative (NBI). The event, which takes place annually on the sidelines of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), addressed the role of business in creating meaningful change, and focused on the intersection of climate, business and growth.
Speaking at the event Christiana Figueres, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, stressed the important role of business pointing out that, in Durban, governments will write a business plan for the planet and that the process “should not be judged by the waves but by the current”. Ms Figueres also announced the launch by the UNFCCC Secretariat, of the Momentum for Change initiative, a platform that aims to highlight projects undertaken by public-private partnerships that have been successful in addressing adaptation or mitigation.
Jean-Guy Carrier, ICC Secretary General said: “Businesses need a clear, consistent and predictable set of rules. Companies are ready to scale-up investments, particularly if governments set the course.” Mr Carrier argued that failure of the UN talks would be damaging to the private sector, especially innovative companies in the environmental technology sector.
“The international climate negotiations are moving forward at a frustratingly slow pace,” said Mr Carrier. “If there is no progress at UN level, a coalition of the willing should lead the way and show the rest of the world that climate change and economic growth can be mutually compatible.” Mr Carrier stressed that the fight against climate change was far too important to be postponed yet again. “We are not looking for a perfect solution, but one that works,” he concluded.
Business Day participants also discussed issues such as climate finance and adaptation to climate change. The event showcased South African business as having demonstrated strong leadership – for example, through the COP 17 CEO forum attracting nearly 50 CEOs – and concluded with a sectorial discussion on mining and metals.