World Chambers Congress

World Chambers Congress spotlights climate change and sustainable development

  • 31 May 2019
World Chambers Congress

The 11th World Chambers Congress taking place in Rio on 12-14 June will explore the ramifications associated with climate change and how business can implement sustainable practices across the global supply chain.

In today’s world, business must accept responsibility for the societal impact of their operations.

The Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] are a common roadmap adopted by world leaders in 2015 for “people, planet and prosperity” as part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. In particular, SDG 13, Climate Action, calls for member states to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy”.

The Paris Agreement and SDGs exemplify a growing global consensus with regard to the importance of combatting climate change. One year after the adoption of the SDGs, 197 countries signed the Paris Agreement, the world’s first universal, legally binding global climate deal to limit global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As a Permanent Observer to the United Nations, ICC is committed to ensuring that business consumption and production patterns align with the UN Sustainability and Development Goals (SDGs) set forth by the UN 2030 Charter.

The 11th World Chambers Congress will bring together leaders from government, business, and chambers to discuss effective strategies for implementing sustainable practices across the global supply chain. From plenary sessions to a special keynote address by Cyrill Gutsch, Founder and CEO, Parley for the Oceans, the 11th World Chambers Congress aim’s to make climate change everyone’s business.

Thriving in a low carbon economy

In the wake of this international call for action, more and more countries are adopting forms of national legislation aimed at promoting sustainable development. According to a study conducted by the London School of Economics each country that signed the Paris Agreement [now] has “at least one law addressing climate change or the transition to a low-carbon economy.” Since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, several countries, like China, France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, have committed to banning the sale of gasoline cars within the next 20 years. At the municipal level, congestion charges, shared bicycle schemes, and sustainable development projects are gaining traction.

Despite these positive developments, challenges remain. At the end of 2018, a report produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] – a body of the United Nations – outlined that “global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 to reach ‘net zero’ around 2050.” Although there is increased impetus for climate change action, the world is still behind. The outcomes of the IPCC report demonstrate the immediacy of climate change action. But enhanced collaboration among businesses and between the public and private sectors is required.

Whereas before climate change was treated with scepticism, today it stands at the forefront of policy discussions. In the presence of these new regulations, business around the world must adapt their business practices to avoid disruption and promote growth. By recognising these changing regulatory conditions, the 11th World Chambers Congress will host a plenary session on “The Sustainable Development Goals and climate change: thriving in a low carbon economy,” which will examine ways in which chambers can encourage business to adopt sustainable practices.

Businesses must be prepared to face the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change and put the SDGs at the heart of their operations. As the world shifts toward a low-carbon economy, there are new opportunities for competition and innovation. Renewable energy, waste management, sustainable transport, and other ‘green economy’ sectors are on the rise. At the same time, traditional emitters of carbon, such as oil and gas companies, are reinventing their business models and developing technologies aimed at capturing carbon emissions. Now more than ever, climate change is everyone’s business. What can government, business, and society do to confront it?

Changing the world, for good with Parley

Unlike the other issues facing today’s international system, climate change touches communities everywhere. In some cases, the damaging impact of climate change is obvious. Over the past decade, disasters, like floods, droughts, tsunamis, heatwaves, and hurricanes have left destructive trails of death and destruction.

Other less apparent results of climate change are impacting the world all the same. As a result of climate change, the world has experienced unprecedented rates of migration and internal displacement within national borders. In some regions of the world, such as North Africa and South America, citizens have decided to leave their homes in search of food and water.

Elsewhere, in advanced economies, such as the United States and Europe, communities are struggling to accommodate these population surges, especially in urban cities, where infrastructure, housing, healthcare, and education systems are becoming stretched. Whether it’s the increased likelihood of a natural disaster, or the straining effects of mass migration, climate change will certainly impact business and society for the foreseeable future.

This rising threat of climate change is fuelling a new generation of creative entrepreneurs, who are seeking to change the world – for good. ICC WCF is pleased to welcome Cyrill Gutsch, Founder and CEO, Parley for the Oceans, to the 11th World Chambers Congress to present on the importance of business-led climate change action. In his keynote address, entitled, “The leadership talk: changing the world, for good,” Mr Gutsch will discuss how chambers can help foster agile companies that can continually innovate and adapt to the challenges associated with climate change. As a member of this new generation of sustainable business leaders, Mr Gutsch will also address the way forward for business to thrive in the coming era of sustainability.

Parley for the Oceans is the global network where creators, thinkers and leaders from the creative industries, brands, governments and environmental groups come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction. The organization has formed alliances with major corporations including adidas, Anheuser Busch InBev (Corona), American Express; the United Nations; the Maldives and collaborators spanning the worlds of science, art, fashion, design, entertainment, sports, and space and ocean exploration.

Other topics to be discussed at the World Chambers Congress

Co-hosted by ICC WCF and the Brazilian Confederation of Trade and Business Associations (CACB), the 11th World Chambers Congress will take place from 12-14 June in Rio de Janeiro. With less than two weeks to go until this flagship event, ICC will be highlighting other topics of this year’s programme over the coming days. Please stay tuned for detailed descriptions on sessions ranging from climate change, trade facilitation and more.


Access the latest programme for the 11th World Chambers Congress.

Learn more about Parely for the Oceans.

Register for your place today to join us in Rio on 12-14 June.