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Business Leaders Call for Climate Action

(Geneva, 6 July 2007) – The chief executives of 153 companies worldwide have committed to speeding up action on climate change and called on governments to agree as soon as possible on measures to secure workable and inclusive climate market mechanisms post 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires.

The call was made in a business leaders statement issued at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on 5-6 July in Geneva. The statement, called “Caring for Climate: The Business Leadership Platform”, provides a global call from business leaders, many of them attending the Leaders Summit. The UN Global Compact, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) facilitated its development.

Signatories to the statement, including 30 from the Fortune Global 500, commit their companies to “taking practical actions to increase the efficiency of energy usage and to reduce the carbon burden of products, services and processes, to set voluntary targets for doing so, and to report publicly on the achievement of those targets annually”. They also commit to dealing with the climate issue strategically and to building relevant capacity. They undertake to work collaboratively with other enterprises on a sector basis and along their global supply chains, promoting recognized standards and taking joint initiatives to reduce climate risks.

According to the statement, business leaders expect from government the “urgent creation, in close consultation with the business community and civil society, of comprehensive, long-term and effective legislative and fiscal frameworks designed to make markets work for the climate, in particular policies and mechanisms intended to create a stable price for carbon”.

“ ‘Caring for Climate: The Business Leadership Platform’ is a unique and significant business initiative, as it is both a call to Governments and a commitment to action by business itself, coupled with an undertaking to communicate progress annually,” said Georg Kell , Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.

Welcoming the statement, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner , said: “Climate change is shaping global markets and global consumer attitudes. There will be winners and losers. Companies who seize the opportunities, who adopt environmental, social and governance policies and who evolve, innovate and respond to these challenges are likely to be the pioneers and industry leaders of the 21st century”.

“Currently, a plethora of initiatives are underway across public and private sectors. Leadership on climate change requires us to all work to combine these strands and weave together these threads in order to maximize international efforts towards a low carbon economy,” he said.

WBCSD President Bjorn Stigson commented: “We do possess realistic options for solutions. These include technologies that can create a more resource-efficient economy and can eliminate the waste from resource use, such as carbon capture and storage.” He also said that we already possess the tools to implement the solutions, referring to “regulations, efficiency standards for products and processes, taxes and fees that influence the prices of resources, goods and services… all of which can involve voluntary actions by business and citizens alike.”

The climate statement concludes with an invitation to the UN Global Compact to promote the public disclosure of actions taken its signatories and, in cooperation with UNEP and the WBCSD, to communicate on this on a regular basis, starting in July 2008.

Also at the Leaders Summit, the UN Global Compact, UNEP and WBCSD jointly launched “Caring for Climate: Tomorrow’s Leadership Today” , which provides a collection of case studies of good practices by companies taking climate action.
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Visit www.unglobalcompact.org/Issues/Environment/Climate_Change/index.html to download the statement and view the list of signatories.


Media Contacts:

UN Global Compact:
Matthias Stausberg
Spokesperson
+1-917-214-1337
stausberg@un.org

Eleonore Kopera
Public Affairs Manager
+41-629-4457
kopera@un.org

UN Environment Programme

Nick Nuttall
Spokesperson
+254 207 623084
nick.nuttall@unep.org

Robert Bisset
European Spokesperson
+33 1 4437 7613
robert.bisset@unep.fr

World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Lloyd Timberlake
Communications Director
+1 202 420 7745
timberlake@wbcsd.org


About The Global Compact
Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact brings business together with UN agencies, labor, civil society and governments to advance ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to mainstream these ten principles in business activities around the world and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With over 3,100 participating companies and hundreds of other stakeholders from more than 100 countries, it is the world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative. For more information, please visit www.unglobalcompact.org.

About the United Nations Environment Programme
The mission of UNEP is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and regional offices in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, West Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. The UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (UNEP DTIE) is the division within UNEP responsible for working with business and industry. Situated in Paris and Geneva, UNEP DTIE reaches out through the regional offices of UNEP as well as its International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) in Osaka, Japan. With its longstanding activities in the areas of sustainable production and consumption, energy, ozone, chemicals, trade, economics, finance and corporate responsibility, UNEP DTIE aims to help decision-makers develop and adopt policies that are cleaner and safer; make efficient use of natural resources; incorporate environmental costs; and reduce pollution and risks for humans and the environment.

About the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led, global association of some 190 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 60 national and regional business councils and regional partners.