Finance industry and business get behind low-carbon transition


A summit of businesses and investors in Paris has given a massive boost to momentum towards climate action and the global deal due at the end of the year. Taking place as part of Climate Week, yesterday’s Business & Climate Summit saw CEOs and Chairs from companies representing some of the biggest names in the global economy reaffirm their commitment to the transition from dirty fossil fuels to 100% renewable energies. In an unprecedented mobilisation of over 6.5 million companies from 130 countries, business leaders joined the global call for a zero emissions future and called on policymakers to agree on carbon pricing mechanisms and a joint public and private sector fund for investing in low-carbon technology. Today, a meeting of insurers, asset managers and bankers saw the investment community get involved, as experts launched a new collective initiative to gather climate actions from 400 investors and further shift capital out of fossil fuel industries into the low-carbon future. The week’s events also saw a host of real-world commitments on climate change. AXA became the first global financial institution to shun investments in coal companies, following Credit Agricole’s announcement earlier in the week to end funding for coal mining, while BNP Paribas joined a host of banks pledging to measure and disclose their carbon footprints. These companies follow in the footsteps of a host of other businesses already taking action to help drive the phase-out of fossil fuels and the renewable energy future, ensuring their business operations are shielded against the impacts of climate change. Echoing calls of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate that climate change is bad for business and that the trade off between climate action and economic growth is fake, this week’s meeting further highlights the absurdity of those companies who continue to fight against the tide and sell their dirty fossil fuels as a solution to energy poverty. The message to these laggards is clear: business-as-usual is no longer an option.


MT @tcktcktck 1000s of business leaders met this week & built momentum for the transition to #cleanenergy #CWParis

Key Points




Tools & Resources

Key Quotes

  • “This is an important milestone on the way to the Paris climate conference in December. It shows that the engagement of the private sector that began at the Climate Summit in New York last September has continued. Business leaders are now in the vanguard of the movement to take climate action.” – Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon
  • “You must, here in Paris, make commitments, offer solutions and success will also be yours. Because if we take the expected actions, if we make the choices that are hoped for, I am sure it will have extremely positive consequences on economic actors, on future technologies, on employment and on growth.” – François Hollande, President of the French Republic
  • “The difference between now and three years ago is that nobody in business really dares to say climate change is not happening. Companies have actually taken commitments on emissions reductions. With bold, clear and long-term climate policies to keep within the +2°C threshold, business will create growth, jobs and continuous innovation on the way to a prosperous low-carbon economy.” – Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chief Executive and Chairman of Schneider Electric and Chairman of Global Compact France
  • “Putting a price on carbon is absolutely key: it will send the right signal to the market, the investors and the polluting companies. And at the same time it will reward the leaders who take climate change seriously. Last but not least, it will push more money into investments in renewables and green infrastructure.” – Mats Andersson, Chief Executive Officer of Swedish National Government Pension Fund, AP4
  • “We have reached the turning point in making our response to climate change real, viable and inevitable. Organisations here, working with over six million companies, want to work with governments to build a clean, predictable and transformative path toward a safe and profitable future.” – Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC
  • “We want to be part of it, and come up with solutions. It is good to be among first businesses on that topic, it is good for our customers, for our business and for our employees. Better to make the dust than hit the dust.” – Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever
  • “We are facing 2 types of events: global aging and climate change. But unlike global aging, climate change is difficult to quantify, it is difficult to assess when, where and how it will impact the economy. That is why investors need more information and want that information available before they make a decision.” – Yann le Pallec, EMEA head of Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services
  • “The idea that all businesses resist all regulations always is wrong and this is why we decided to become more vocal. A growing number of companies engage in decreasing their emissions, going 100% renewables and call for a carbon price. We want to celebrate this movement, call for action and send a clear message to policy makers, who have to translate the 2DegC goal into an operational language understandable by businesses.” – Nigel Topping, We Mean Business
  • “Beyond a certain point, there is no developement, and no business. Businesses get most of the impacts from climate change. When they are droughts in Brazil, there is no more hydropower, no more electricity, no more ice-cream, no market. Climate Change affects development. It is a development agenda. With Sandy hurricane, it is not New York City that suffered but Haiti.” – Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever
  • “I think one of these days we won’t need fossil fuels anymore. When that will be you can’t say.
  • If don’t think we can end fossil fuels before 2050. You can still use fossil fuels and reduce emissions.” – Ali Al Naimi, Saudi Arabia minister of petroleum
  • “Reaching an agreement has never been possible so far, now it is necessary. Climate-fatalism is more and more unjustified, climate-voluntarism is more and more unavoidable. You (companies) can (and have to) put pressure on each of your governments.” – Laurent Fabius, Foreign Minister of France
  • “A world 2DegC warmer is insurable, beyond 2DegC, we don’t know.” – Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC
  • “From reducing emissions in their portfolios to investing in renewable energy and engaging with fossil fuel companies on climate change, investors are working hard for a low carbon transition. An ambitious global deal which sets a clear pathway towards a low carbon future would enable them to scale up these actions and go further.” – Stephanie Pfeifer, Chief Executive of IIGCC
  • “Investors around the world spoke loud and clear in September that there is strong ambition to finance the Clean Trillion – the additional trillion dollars per year that must be invested in clean energy in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. The steps many investors are taking today–as illustrated on this platform– can be scaled up tremendously in the future with a strong global climate deal in place.” – Chris Davis, Chief of Staff for Ceres’ INCR
  • “Investors are taking action to protect their investments by engaging with companies to shift to a low-carbon future and by re-allocating their capital directly. The new investor platform will help to coordinate and showcase those actions and send a strong message to companies and policy-makers ahead of COP 21. CDP believes that investor engagement is vital to ensure that the transition to a low carbon economy happens as quickly as possible.” – James Hulse, Head of Investor Initiatives, CDP
  • “2015 is a critical year for the challenge of climate change. Institutional investors have not one, but two important roles to play. First, they need to amplify their call for serious and ambitious government action on climate change. But, to be credible, they also need to demonstrate their own leadership in moving to action, for instance through the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition which is part of the broader platform we are launching today.” – Eric Usher, acting Head UNEP FI

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