Climate change

One Planet Summit: Key takeaways for business

  • 18 December 2017
one planet summit

On 12 December, global heads of state, mayors, business leaders and major financial actors gathered in Paris on the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement. Here’s what you need to know.

The One Planet Summit, convened by President Emmanuel Macron of France, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim featured a range of high profile announcements on climate finance from a variety of stakeholders, including governments, banks, businesses, and investors.

Before the Summit even began, 91 French companies—including many ICC members—signed the 2017 French Business Climate Pledge, committing to concrete action on climate change. Here are some other key takeaways for business:

1. The public sector is scaling up climate finance

Countries, regions, and development banks will continue to provide and mobilise financial resources to fight against climate change. A joint declaration by the French Agency for Development (AFD) and over 30 global development banks was made during the One Planet Summit to continue mobilising financial flows to support the transition towards resilient and sustainable development.

European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete presented the EU’s Action Plan for the Planet, announcing the readiness of the European Fund for Sustainable Development as part of the EU External Investment Plan (EIP) to mobilise together with other European institutions EUR€44 billion for climate-related projects in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood countries by 2020.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May asserted the UK’s commitment to the collaborative US$100 billion goal by 2020 and committed an additional GBP£140 million towards this goal. The Gates Foundation also announced plans to invest US$650 million in eco-agriculture and food systems in developing countries.

2. Business participation is indispensable

The private sector has the potential to mobilise US$3 trillion towards low-carbon projects that support and accelerate climate change solutions, affirmed Fijian Prime Minister and COP23 President, Frank Bainimarama. Both public and private sectors must “work together like never before” to unlock this potential, Mr Bainimarama maintained.

While available resources and capital exists, the right incentives, appropriate policy frameworks and investment environment are needed to effectively mobilise them. This point was also echoed by Nicholas Stern, Chairman of Grantham Research Institute.

The One Planet Summit saw UN Environment and BNP Paribas signing a landmark agreement, which will provide capital funding amounting to US$10 billion by 2025 in developing countries. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition also announced a US$1 billion Breakthrough Energy Venture in energy and technology innovation.

3. Meaningful movement towards carbon pricing

President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico announced the Declaration of Carbon Pricing for the Americas (CPA), a joint declaration with the national and local governments in the region that aims to promote an interregional carbon market and a standardized carbon price. A pilot phase of the project will start in Mexico in the second half of 2018.

China’s Vice-Premier, Ma Kai, announced that the country would launch a national emissions trading system in the coming days that has been developed with assistance from the World Bank.

The governments of France, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden and the Netherlands agreed to implement or evaluate the introduction of a meaningful carbon price in relevant sectors. They also welcomed the recent EU decision to reform the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).

Secretary General of the OECD Angel Gurria announced the Paris Collaborative on Green Budgeting, which encourages countries to establish a carbon price and integrate climate and environmental commitments into their domestic budgets.

4. Placing the climate at the centre of investment planning

Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, asserted that “those who fail to build a green economy would live in a grey future”. The private sector is demonstrating commitment to engage in responsible and sustainability practices. 225 global institutional investors, with US$26.3 trillion assets under management, launched the Climate Action 100+ coalition at the summit, which will work actively with global businesses to integrate environmental considerations in their activities and strengthen corporate governance on climate change issues. ICC believes that engaging in sustainability practices and putting environmental considerations at the heart of the corporate structure is an essential part of any forward-looking business model.

The One Planet Summit also highlighted a global movement of both public and private actors away from carbon and “energy sources of the past”. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced at the summit that his organisation would cease the financing of all upstream oil and gas projects by the end of 2019. The Power Past Coal Alliance, initiated by Canada and the UK at COP23, has been joined by 34 countries as well as 24 global businesses, including EDF, ENGIE, Iberdrola, and Unilever.

For its part, AXA announced an additional EUR€2.4 billion divestment from carbon-intensive energy producers and stated that the group would stop insuring new coal construction projects as well as the oil sands and associated pipeline businesses. Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg announced the establishment of the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Working Group, comprising six of the largest Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs), which will develop an environmental and social governance framework to guide investment decisions.

Focus was also given to the importance of disclosing climate-related risks in business and investment activities, as per the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). Published in June 2017, the recommendations have received wide support from over 237 companies, representing US$6.3 trillion in market capital.

ICC extends its congratulations to its members—ENGIE, HSBC Group, Alstom, BNB Paribas—for their inspiring interventions and to all ICC members in France for their commitment to the 2017 French Business Climate Pledge.

A full list of announcements made during the One Planet Summit can be found here. For social media coverage, click here.