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Businesses from Developing and Developed Economies Demonstrate Climate Leadership, Urge Action on Climate Change

Submitted by: United Nations Global Compact

Categories: Environment, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Oct 22, 2008 – 08:46 AM EST


UN-backed Caring for Climate Initiative Convened First Meeting of Signatories

Oct. 22 /CSRwire/ - GENEVA. - October 22, 2008 - More than 150 representatives of business, civil society organizations, governments and UN agencies from around the world gathered in Geneva on 20-21 October for the first meeting of signatories to Caring for Climate, a voluntary global action platform jointly launched in 2007 by the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The meeting showcased and discussed new business solutions to the climate challenge, with the aim of producing crucial business insights and developing a clear and shared path forward in support of an effective post-Kyoto policy framework on climate change. It also set the stage for a World Business Summit on Climate Change, to be convened in Copenhagen on 24-26 May 2009.

Caring for Climate seeks to advance practical solutions and help shape public policy as well as public attitudes on climate change. Nearly 300 businesses, covering 30 industry sectors in 48 countries, have joined the platform. Signatories include a large number of companies from emerging and developing economies where environmental and resource security issues have come to the forefront of the business agenda.

Through a series of plenary sessions and interactive workshops, the Geneva meeting discussed best practices and policy frameworks with regard to climate change; investments and technologies; as well as emerging climate leadership in developing nations.

A new GlobeScan survey among Caring for Climate signatories, first introduced at the meeting, reveals that a majority of signatories are optimistic about their ability to develop the internal capacity to set targets and reduce climate impact, while recognizing room for improvement in implementing strategies and sharing climate experience with other companies.

According to the survey, Caring for Climate signatories expect similar leadership from governments, long-term plans for emission reductions, more investments in low-carbon technologies and stimulation of consumer demand for innovative climate-safe products and services. Survey respondents further recommend that governments meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009 to finalize the post-Kyoto agreement should ensure participation by developed and developing nations, set GHG reduction targets even if compromise is required, and establish workable mechanisms to help nations meet targets, along with incentives for business.

In addition to the Globescan survey, participants discussed seven new reports and research projects, covering a wide range of climate-related issues, including energy efficiency, responsible investment, and strategies and practices in emerging economies. Final reports will be presented at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in 2009.

Quotes Attributable to Co-Conveners of Caring for Climate

"Recent weeks of financial turmoil are a reminder of fundamental decisions that need to be taken about how we run our economies and business with longer term climate change impacts in mind," said Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. "Latest scientific evidence on climate change are proving worse than foreseen, and ecosystems services worth trillions of dollars are being lost due to unsustainable consumption and production. Participant companies under Caring for Climate are showing hope for the future, taking action in all regions and addressing climate change in a strategic manner."

"Climate change will undoubtedly reshape the business landscape as we know it. Whether or not companies take early action on climate change is crucial," said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. "Companies committed to Caring for Climate demonstrate that a growing number of businesses is making a choice that tells us that a sustainable future and business competitiveness can complement each other."

"The global corporations who make up our membership understand, in spite of the financial crisis, that acting on climate change is more urgent than ever," said Bjorn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. "Global business has the resources to deliver energy efficiencies, to innovate, to develop and deploy technology, and to drive carbon markets. This goes to the heart of issues of long term success: profitability, value to shareholders and responsible management in the interests of the community as a whole. Business has now demonstrated repeatedly that is also willing to work in partnership with governments and other players to ensure that we succeed in this enormous challenge."

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP, established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.

UNEP work encompasses assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends; developing international and national environmental instruments; strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment; facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable development; and encouraging new partnerships and mind-sets within civil society and the private sector. For more information, visit

About the UN Global Compact

Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a leadership initiative endorsed by chief executives, it seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With over 5,000 signatories in more than 130 countries, it is the world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative. Through Caring for Climate, an engagement platform jointly launched with the UN Environment Programme and the WBCSD, the UN Global Compact aims to advance practical solutions and help shape public policy as well as public attitudes on climate change. For more information on the UN Global Compact, please visit

About the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led, global association of some 200 companies dealing exclusively with business and sustainable development. The Council provides a platform for companies to explore sustainable development, share knowledge, experiences and best practices, and to advocate business positions on these issues in a variety of forums, working with governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations. Members are drawn from more than 35 countries and 20 major industrial sectors. The Council also benefits from a global network of about 55 national and regional business councils and regional partners. More information:

For more information, please contact:

Matthias Stausberg UN Global Compact
Phone: +1-917-214-1337

For more from this organization:

United Nations Global Compact


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