Corporate titans commit to low-carbon future – UN

Observing Africa’s carbon cycle

6 October 2010 – Business leaders from around the world today pledged to slash their carbon emissions in areas ranging from energy, communications and construction at the end of a United Nations-backed summit in Mexico City.

They urged governments to advance negotiations to ensure an ambitious outcome at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Cancún which kicks off next month.

The corporate leaders also underlined the need for a level playing field worldwide to foster green entrepreneurship, in a declaration issued at the conclusion of the Business for the Environment (B4E) summit in the Mexican capital yesterday.

Energy companies at the gathering agreed to work towards reaching 100 per cent renewable energy production by 2050, while information and communication technology (ICT) companies committed to curbing nearly 8 gigatonnes of carbon emissions, and representatives from the building sector pledged to limit emissions by 40 per cent in new buildings by 2020.

“Many businesses, including those at the B4E Summit, are signalling leadership and seizing the opportunities of the climate change challenge. Why? Because many see rising risks to profits from the impacts of rising greenhouse gases but also an opportunity to become far more resource efficient and innovative enterprises,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

He said Governments at next month’s Cancún meeting and beyond have a responsibility to support these goals.

Business leaders at the Mexico City event agreed that the creation of strong global policy and national legal frameworks are required to avert a major climate crisis with economic, political, health, environment, safety and other implications.

“While governments hold the key to setting the right signals and incentives, it is business that provides the solutions we need,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, an initiative that seeks to foster socially responsible business practices.

“Now is the time to support the many efforts that already exist to ensure that low-carbon innovation is shared widely and to mobilize those still sitting on the fence,” he stressed. “We cannot afford to wait any longer.

With less than two months remaining before the Cancún meeting, the UNFCCC chief has called on nations to accelerate efforts to find common ground to reach a concrete outcome at the gathering.

“Governments have restored their own trust in the process, but they must ensure that the rest of the world believes in a future of ever-increasing government commitment to combat climate change,” said Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary.

Some 3,000 participants from more than 170 countries are in Tianjin, China, for a week-long negotiating session which began on Monday ahead of the Cancún meeting.

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