Climate change

Business rallies in support of COP21 agreement at Le Bourget

  • 4 December 2015

With pressure mounting for UN negotiators to reach a global deal as the COP21 climate talks approach the halfway mark, business representatives taking part in today’s official COP21 Business and Industry (BINGO) Day have called on governments to seal a deal that will work with the private sector and help them do more to meet the climate challenge.

Speaking at the event just a stone’s throw away from the rooms where negotiators are thrashing out the details for a potential deal, John Danilovich, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General said: “A COP21 agreement must work with business to speed and scale up the innovation and investment needed to reduce emissions and increase resilience to changing weather patterns.” Mr Danilovich pointed to the estimated US$53 trillion investment required in energy supply and efficiency that is largely expected to come from the private sector and said: “It’s clear that business action and engagement will be, without doubt, a central and defining part of the solution [to the climate challenge].”

Under the theme “Business taking action for a low-carbon, resilient economy”, the BINGO Day, co-organized by 12 organizations, brought together senior representatives of government, business and civil society. As a forum to provide constructive policy input from business to the UNFCCC process, the event underscored private sector commitment to an ambitious agreement in Paris while showcasing business leadership, concrete actions and the crucial value of public-private partnerships and collaboration in meeting the climate challenge.

Explaining why his company wanted to be the cleanest and most sustainable energy company in the world, BINGO Day’s keynote speaker Gerard Mestrallet, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ENGIE warned: “There is no plan B because there is no planet B”.

A COP21 agreement must work with business to speed and scale up the innovation and investment needed to reduce emissions and increase resilience to changing weather patterns.

Speaking live on CNBC earlier in the day, Mr Danilovich said: “One thing is very clear: governments cannot do this alone. They need the private sector to achieve a successful deal.” Responding to a question on what if anything had changed from previous climate talks that had ultimately failed, Mr Danilovich said that circumstances had changed. “It is now widely acknowledged that there is a problem. The dynamics of what is involved are entirely different.”

Mr Danilovich reaffirmed ICC’s commitment on behalf of its 6.5 million members to help businesses reach their full potential to meet the climate challenge.

“The COP21 talks must mark the start of a new era of collaboration with business when it comes to climate change,” he told BINGO Day participants.

“We know that responsible business, combined with innovation and collaboration, can bring about powerful changes… and that business and governments working together can solve even the steepest of challenges.” He concluded: “We have done it before. And we can do it again.”

Under the theme of “Business taking action for a low-carbon, resilient economy” BINGO Day was co-organized by 12 different organizations to provide an opportunity for senior representatives of government, business, and civil society to discuss climate challenges and showcase innovative solutions.

The morning’s sessions focused on the climate agenda from an Indian perspective, as well as looking at strategies for establishing resilient economies.

The afternoon panels, looked at energizing efficient, productive and smart cities and grids, and the question of how to catalyze commitments into action in cross-sector collaboration.