Over 100 business leaders delivered concrete actions to align with the Paris Agreement targets, and speed up the transition to a green economy, at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.

The majority of the companies involved have pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and align their businesses with what scientists say is needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change—a 1.5°C future.

87 of the 103 companies involved, representing various industry sectors from fashion to tech and food to energy, have gone further and agreed to slash their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

In addition, a major announcement at the summit by governments and companies representing 77 countries committed themselves to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, while 70 countries announced they will either boost their national action plans by 2020 or have started the process of doing so.

According to the Emissions Gap Report 2018, published by the United Nations Environment Programme, the 2030 emissions reductions pledged by member states under the Paris Agreement will likely still fall short of keeping global warming below 1.5˚C.

Many, including the UN Science Policy Business Forum, see the private sector as crucial in making up the shortfall and going beyond Paris Agreement targets.

In numbers, the scale of private sector pledges:

  • USD 2 trillion – the amount of investment managed by a group of the world’s largest asset-owners who have now committed to move to carbon-neutral investment portfolios by 2050.
  • USD 2.3 trillion – the market cap of the 87 major companies who pledged to reduce emissions and align their businesses with what scientists say is needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change—a 1.5°C future.
  • 130 – the number of banks, making up one-third of the global banking sector, who have signed up to align their businesses with the Paris agreement goals

A UN press release from the Summit describes the ambition of the private sector commitments as ‘unprecedented’.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in closing the summit, said “You have delivered a boost in momentum, cooperation and ambition. But we have a long way to go. We need more concrete plans, more ambition from more countries and more businesses. We need all financial institutions, public and private, to choose, once and for all, the green economy.”

Some of the companies which have committed to a 1.5°C future, include:

ADEC Innovations; América Móvil; ASICS Corporation;  Atlassian Corporation; Bharti Airtel Limited; Burberry; City Developments Limited; The Co-operative Group; Croda International; Cybercom Group; Danone; Deutsche Telekom; Dexus; EDP – Energias de Portugal; Electrolux; Elopak; En+ Group; Ericsson Group; Firmenich; Glovo; Grupo Malwee; Guess; Ingka Group; Inter IKEA Group; International Flavors & Fragrances; Intuit; Klabin; L’Oréal; MARUI GROUP; Nestlé; Nokia; Novo Nordisk; NRG Energy; Orange Group; Ørsted; PensionDanmark; Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited; Saint-Gobain; Salesforce.com; Scania; Schneider Electric; Seventh Generation; SkyPower; Sodexo; SUEZ; Swiss Reinsurance; TDC; Viña Concha y Toro; and Wipro.

Relevant links

UN press release from the Climate Action Summit 2019

UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2018

List of companies signed up to a 1.5°C future


Image: Pavel Buchta


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