Climate change

Chambers of commerce pledge to contribute business solutions to climate change

  • 5 June 2009

Leaders of the global chambers of commerce community issued a statement today at the World Chambers Congress here, identifying the current global economic crisis and the impacts of climate change as two major challenges that transcend national borders and require concerted international cooperation.

“Companies and chambers of commerce have a critical role to play in meeting these challenges together with governments. However, more effective ways of governing an interdependent world are needed,” the statement said.

Noting that the 6th World Chambers Congress took place in the midst of the worst global recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the statement urged governments to avoid the temptation of protectionist measures to restrict imports and foreign investments.

Organized by the International Chamber of Commerce’s World Chambers Federation, the Congress brought together some 1,000 chamber of commerce executives and other business people in Kuala Lumpur from over 100 countries.

In a main plenary session today on the economic implications of climate change, the Congress delegates sought tools and information they could use in their home countries to help company and government leaders to mitigate the effects of climate change and to adapt to new conditions resulting from climate change.

Kimball Chen, Chairman of the Energy Transportation Group in the United States and a panellist in the plenary told delegates: “You need to learn about the issues of climate change. There will be economic consequences of climate change. You must plan for them and you must act. Action is imperative, it is not a choice.”

The current year is particularly significant, delegates agreed, as negotiations on a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) intensify with a view towards reaching a consensus in Copenhagen this December on a post-2012 framework to regulate green house gas emissions.

Carlos Busquets, Policy Manger, Environment & Energy, at the International Chamber of Commerce and the moderator of the plenary, stressed that climate change presented opportunities for companies and chambers and that the political decisions that would be reached by the UNFCCC in Copenhagen in December would not be an end, but rather a beginning to new ways of doing business.

“A clear and predictable framework is needed to allow business to stimulate investment and deploy technology on the necessary scale to stabilize emissions,” the Congress Statement said.

“A future framework must facilitate the scaling-up of research and development of clean energy technologies through new financial mechanisms. Immediate deployment of cost-effective existing technologies should be encouraged. Innovative public-private partnerships that foster rapid development of advanced technologies to reduce emissions will also play a pivotal role,” the statement continued.

The day’s events also included nine workshops covering subjects such as networking, sustainable cities, social responsibility, environmental issues, intellectual property, customer service and certificates of origin.

The three-day Congress came to an end today during a closing ceremony presided over by the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Ahmad Fuad Ismail; the Chair of the World Chambers Federation, Rona Yircali; and the President of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, Mustafa Mansur.

Delegates this year came from all continents and represented a full range of developed and developing economies including: Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, Finland, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The next World Chambers Congress will be held in Mexico City in 2011.

To read the Congress Statement, please  click here