How Business Leaders Can Participate in COP21

Paris' Clichy-Batignolles Eco District (file photo)

By MarEx 2015-11-24 15:41:49

by Stéphanie Leblanc and Emilie Prattico (courtesy BSR)

Business has a critical role to play in shaping a low-carbon future. This role starts with the private sector mobilizing around the COP21 negotiations, committing to climate action, and, in return, asking for a pragmatic and ambitious Paris climate agreement.

COP21 holds many opportunities for business to demonstrate that it can “meet its moment” and help implement the Paris agreement to ensure the transition to a low-carbon economy.

At BSR, we believe there are three ways our member companies and partners can most effectively engage at COP21.

1. Learn about the stakes.

To meet the challenges ahead, business leaders should understand how climate change affects their companies’ operations and supply chains and learn how the COP21 negotiations will change the environment after Paris.

Companies should learn about the climate science and familiarize themselves with the concrete impacts of climate change.

For a primer, the IPCC “Climate Science Business Briefings” provide short, sector-specific information translating the latest climate science in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report for the business community.

Join BSR’s “Road Through Paris” webinars to learn about the nuts and bolts of COP21 climate policy and action. 

Subscribe to BSR’s COP21 Daily Dispatch, a special daily newsletter published during the COP21 climate negotiations November 30-December 11, which will offer BSR’s insights on the policy negotiations and implications for business.

The “We Mean Business” coalition will also run the Bottom Line, a daily newsletter offering the business perspective on the negotiations’ proceedings.

2. Make ambitious climate commitments, share them and take concrete action.

Companies can seize important opportunities to shape the outcome of COP21 by demonstrating strong commitments, sending clear signals to policymakers and preparing to act on the likely results.

The “Lima-Paris Action Agenda,” one of the four pillars of the Paris outcome defined by the French COP21 presidency, provides a platform for companies, cities, subnational regions and investors to promote their actions, commitments and results in the run up to COP21.

The We Mean Business “Take Action” campaign is dedicated to the private sector and calls on companies and investors to commit to one or more of 11 initiatives. These include adopting a science-based emissions-reduction target, reducing short-lived climate pollutants and procuring 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources.

3. Go to Paris to join the discussions, network with peers and engage in action.

Companies can engage in many ways onsite and alongside COP21. These include organizing events, speaking at events organized by others, arranging bilateral meetings and networking at events and business hubs.

To help business advocate for a low-carbon economy, the We Mean Business coalition will equip business leaders with a functional script to use at events and in all their interactions in Paris. This script will be made available for businesses to translate their calls for climate action into specific asks that are both pragmatic and ambitious—and to shape the new agreement in a manner that promotes both business success and climate ambition.

Here is a small selection of the events BSR is tracking at COP21:

December 5: As part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, a high-level meeting on climate action, or “Action Day,” will showcase non-state actor initiatives. There will also be related daily thematic focuses December 1-8 (see the calendar).

December 7: BSR will co-host the event “Reducing Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations” with the UNEP-Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the government of Norway, the Colombian Center for Sustainable Development Studies and the World Bank. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

December 7-8: BSR is an institutional partner of the Sustainable Innovation Forum, hosted by UNEP-Climate Action at the Stade de France. BSR President and CEO Aron Cramer will participate in the panel “Innovation for Business Advantage” on December 8 at 11 a.m.

December 8-9: ”Energy for Tomorrow 2015,” hosted by the international New York Times at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, will gather global leaders to discuss the future of energy in a sustainable world.

December 16: Following COP21, BSR will be holding a teleconference seminar on first takeaways. The seminar, at 8:00 AM PCT, will be for members and invited guests. For more information or to apply for participation, click here.


This article originally appeared on November 24 at BSR’s site. 

Stéphanie Leblanc is an Associate Director for Communications and Emilie Prattico is the Manager for Partnership Development at BSR.

BSR works with large multinational companies, government agencies, and global and local NGOs to translate ideas into real outcomes that deliver value for business and society.

BSR members include transportation companies Maersk, Safmarine and APM Terminals, plus oil majors BP, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell. The organization also a contributing member of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, which advocates against port state bribery and facilitation payments and counts over forty maritime partner companies among its participants.



The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.