Alok Sharma MP has urged business leaders in the UK and worldwide to accelerate climate action as the UK prepares to host the COP26 global climate change summit in November 2021.
The former Business Secretary is COP President-Designate and called on the world’s businesses to take action on man-made climate change at the Business 7 Summit that convened on 10th May as part of the UK’s G7 presidency this year.
Since the UK took on the G7 Presidency in January 2021 there has been a 47% increase in major companies signing up to the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign. A total of over 2,000 companies from across 84 countries have committed to a net zero future, representing more than $13 trillion in market capital and employing over 19 million people globally.
With six months to go before the UK brings world leaders together for the crucial UN climate change summit, COP26, Alok Sharma addressed over 200 CEOs from a range of sectors across G7+ countries, thanking companies that have already signed up and urging others to follow their lead in committing to help halve global emissions by 2030. He said:
In the fight against climate change, it is vital that we have the ingenuity, influence and energy of the private sector on our side.
“Analysis suggests that, together, 215 of the world’s biggest companies have almost $1 trillion at risk from climate impacts. Yet, those same companies have the potential to gain double that amount from the move to green economies.
“Joining Race to Zero is a clear statement that you can see the possibilities our green future presents. And that you are determined to take them. And it tells your customers that you are serious about genuine climate action.
“Take the opportunities presented by the low carbon economy. And play your part in this momentous year for climate action, the year of COP26, in making the goals of the Paris Agreement a reality.”
Around 800 of total companies signed up to the Race to Zero are UK-based, and the UK is the first country in the world to welcome over 100 major headquartered companies into the Race to Zero under the Business Ambition for 1.5C initiative. Over a third of FTSE100 companies are also now signed up to the Race to Zero.
Concluding the first day of the B7 summit, Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng also set out his vision of business leadership for up to 60 CEOs from leading UK and global companies. The BEIS Secretary of State will be chairing a feedback session to hear and respond to CEO ideas on how business can work with government to deliver a green recovery and address global challenges in climate, digital and health. Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
Today’s summit is a perfect example of Government and the private sector working hand in hand to tackle the biggest global challenges of our time and to deliver an investment-led green recovery.
Businesses wield incredible influence to drive change across society and the economy – we need to harness this power to fight climate change and build back better as we recover from the pandemic
Already a third of the UK’s largest businesses have pledged to eliminate their contribution to climate change by 2050 and we are mobilising £12 billion of public investment to unlock three times as much private sector investment by 2030.
It is thanks to this collective power of our wealth creators and government action that the UK is delivering the world-leading policies needed to meet our climate targets, with the UK government committing only last month to the highest emissions reduction target by a major economy to date.
Now as we approach 6 months to COP26 in Glasgow, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to put the UK’s world-class collaboration between government and business into motion, ensuring we can create jobs, attract private capital and revive our industrial heartlands. And it is my priority to seize it.