Climate Action: Uniting Business and Governments to Recover Better

In a time of global uncertainty, ambitious climate action is as urgent as ever. The COVID-19 pandemic is profoundly deepening existing inequalities and threatens to reverse progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. At the same time, the world continues to face a global climate emergency challenging both humankind and livelihoods.

Now, more than ever, the global business community must showcase leadership to mitigate, respond, recover and create resilience by connecting the dots between these two ongoing emergencies. This Academy Session opens with the launch of “Uniting Business and Governments to Recover Better,” a joint statement from companies in the Science-Based Targets initiative and its Business Ambition for 1.5°C aimed at raising the business voice and action for better recovery to a zero-carbon resilient economy, and encouraging governments to match this ambition in their recovery efforts.

Session attendees learn how a better recovery reduces vulnerability to future disasters and builds community resilience to address physical, social, environmental and economic shocks. A better recovery will also give low-carbon investments and infrastructure a chance, embedding these efforts in national climate plans (Nationally Determined Contributions) to better meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.

For responsible business, it is crucial that long-term solutions and recovery efforts define the company vision, policies and strategies for environmental responsibility and the climate emergency. This requires continued and urgent transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions well before 2050.


-Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Assistant Secretary-General for the Climate Action Team
-Andrew Steer, CEO and President, WRI
-Jakob Askou Boss, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Office, Ørsted
-Mindy Lubber, CEO and President, Ceres

What did we learn?

  • On 19 May 2020, more than 150 CEOs have signed a statement urging Governments to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with the latest climate science. This Statement from companies in the Science Based Targets initiative and our Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign is the largest ever UN-backed CEO-led climate advocacy effort to date and has been warmly welcomed by the Secretary-General.
  • Climate change remains at the top of the Secretary General’s priorities. He has released an extremely powerful message which outlined six climate actions for a better recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
    1. Invest in green jobs and businesses through a clean, green and just transition. Investments must accelerate the decarbonization of all aspects of our economy.
    2. Do not bail out polluting industries unless these industries commit to become Paris aligned. Where taxpayers’ money is needed to rescue businesses, it must be creating green jobs and sustainable and inclusive growth.
    3. End fossil-fuel subsidies. We must shift from a grey to a green economy, public funds should invest in the future. Fossil fuel subsidies must end, carbon must have a price and polluters must pay for their pollution.
    4. Take climate risks and opportunities into account in all financial and policy decisions. Investors cannot continue to ignore the price our planet pays for unsustainable growth.
    5. Work together to recover better. Like the coronavirus, greenhouse gases respect no boundaries. No country, no company can succeed alone.
    6. Leave no one behind.
  • To learn more on how the UN Secretary-General's six asks translate to corporate climate actions, download our corporate checklist.
  • As debates on recovery packages around the world ramp up in the coming weeks, the companies are calling for policies that will build resilience against future shocks by supporting efforts to hold global temperature rise to within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, in line with reaching net-zero emissions well before 2050. Now is the time for countries to link their stimulus packages to the Paris Agreement. There is a window of opportunity to ensure that we secure action to align recovery efforts with our climate and environment goals.

Uniting Business and Governments to Recover Better

Companies that have committed to set Science Based Targets through the Science Based Targets initiative are invited to support the statement and are invited to sign on by filling out this online form

Join the campaign for our only future and align your Science-Based Target with the highest level of ambition of 1.5°C

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