Climate change

Key takeaways from the ICC Talanoa Dialogue Roundtable

  • 16 May 2018

As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Focal Point for business and industry, ICC illustrated how business is playing a role as a key partner in achieving the global climate goals at a multistakeholder engagement session in Bonn last week.

Aimed at contributing to the so-named Talanoa Dialogue to determine how collective action can move the global climate agenda forward, the workshop brought together the High-level Climate Champions, government representatives leading the United Nations climate process, representatives from intergovernmental organisations, business leaders and a diverse group of other stakeholders, including local governments, environmental NGOs, farmers, trade unions and youth.

Building on the success of a workshop held in Paris on 2 February 2018, the latest Talanoa Dialogue Roundtable took place on 5 May 2018, during the Bonn Climate Change Conference held from 30 April-10 May 2018.

During the session, participants shared examples of the concrete action they are taking to address the climate challenge – sending a clear message that business is an essential part of the solution.

Here are three main takeaways from the event:

  1. Business has a critical role to play in enhancing ambition to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement

Majda Dabaghi, Senior Policy Executive for the ICC Commission on Environment and Energy, opened the discussion by stressing ICC’s commitment to the spirit of the Talanoa Dialogue and to the Paris Agreement. “ICC firmly believes that meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement will require on-going dialogue and deep collaboration between all stakeholders, including government, global business and civil society – Enhancing this collaboration will be essential to meeting the climate challenge and to promoting sustainable and inclusive growth,” Ms Dabaghi stated.

The High-level Climate Champions echoed this sentiment.

Inia Seruiratu, High-level Champion from Fiji, welcomed ICC’s contribution to the Talanoa Dialogue: “Businesses, big or small, multinational or SMEs are crucial partners in securing a prosperous and sustainable, low-carbon economy for all. Business and industry have a significant role to play in enabling the global economy to achieve its climate goals.”

Tomasz Chruszczow, High-level Champion from Poland, added that in order to be able to implement the Paris Agreement at COP24 in Katowice, Poland next December “we need all actors, and most important we need the business leaders.” Mr Chruszczow highlighted the importance of business engagement with governments on the local, national and international level to encourage implementation of the Paris Agreement and deliver effective climate actions that contribute to long-term transition plans.

Brigitte Collet, Climate Ambassador for France, said: “It is extremely clear that if we want to succeed in the ecological revolution, then we need to engage economic and social actors.”

  1. Urgent action is needed

Under the Paris Agreement, countries are to submit national climate plans every five years. These are known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Taken together, these NDCs should get us on a pathway to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement to hold the increase of global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as possible and to achieve net greenhouse gas neutrality in the second half of this century.

Evidence has however shown that the aggregate ambitions in the initial NDCs are not enough to get the international community on track to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. All governments and non-state actors present agreed that there was a small window of opportunity to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement before it is too late. The discussions underscored the need for business – big and small, from all jurisdictions and from all sectors – to take urgent action.

Business understands that taking action on climate change is part of a winning business model that is good for profits, people and the planet, especially when supported by appropriate climate policies aimed at global markets and competitiveness.

Martin Frick, Senior Director Policy and Programme Coordination at UNFCCC, suggested that achieving the goals of Paris will require changing the operating system of global business while Katarin Wagner, Head of Corporate Sustainability for HSBC Germany, said: “Corporate sustainability must be integrated into the core business strategy of every company”.

The workshop also heard many stories of transformational changes to business and organisational models. Stories of the power of market mechanisms were contributed by Dirk Forrister, CEO of IETA, who shared first-hand experience of how market stimulus unleashes competition and creativity to drive greater ambition.

Stories were also shared giving examples of how small changes can add up to have a big impact. Anirban Ghosh, Chief Sustainability Officer, Mahindra Group, shared a story of how an integrated watershed development project in India addressed challenges due to climate change and had had a positive ripple effect on the community – both socially and economically.

Inia Seruiratu drew attention to the importance of partnerships and alliances. “We are all in the same canoe and so we must work together and share the responsibility,” he stated.

  1. Business needs a consistent policy framework to go further

While business is taking action and increasing ambition, more is needed and the pace of change must be accelerated. For business to go even further and faster towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, governments must fulfil their mandate to operationalise the Paris Agreement at COP24. This will send a strong signal to business that there is political will to tackle climate change, provide greater certainty on long-term climate policies, and have an adequate framework upon which business can rely. As one participant noted: “When business isn’t scared, money flows.”

As the UNFCCC Focal Point for business and industry, ICC works continually to ensure governments understand the critical importance of operationalising the Paris Agreement at COP24 and the consequences of not doing so.

Business can support this process and ICC encourages governments to work with the private sector at both an international and national level to develop climate policy and the enabling frameworks necessary for business investment and innovation to tackle climate challenges while also increasing competitiveness, creating jobs and promoting sustainable economic growth.

Business can also be indispensable to elaboration, assessment, improvement and implementation of long-term national climate policies.

About the Talanoa Dialogue

The Talanoa Dialogue, previously referred to as the Facilitative Dialogue, is named after the Fijian tradition of inclusive, participatory and transparent decision-making and is aimed at determining how collective action can move the global climate agenda forward. It is a year-long process of discussions, consultations, events and expert inputs that will culminate at this year’s 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland on 3-14 December 2018.

ICC recently shared a business perspective on the three key questions of the Talanoa Dialogue: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?