600+ companies call on G20 to halve emissions by 2030 and to end support for coal power

Companies operating across the G20 urge governments to redirect public spending towards keeping the 1.5ºC climate goal within reach By We mean business coalition | September 30, 2021

Many of the world’s largest companies are among hundreds of business leaders appealing to the G20 to collectively agree to strengthen their national climate targets at the pivotal G20 and COP26 talks.  

Following the “code red for humanity” warning recently issued by the UN, the businesses, representing over US$2.5 trillion (£1.8 trillion) in revenue and employing more than 8.5 million people worldwide, signed an open letter to the G20 leaders. The signatories, which include Unilever, Netflix, Volvo Cars, Iberdrola and Natura & Co span sectors from power and transport to fashion and construction.  

Businesses are urging the world’s biggest economies to deliver on the existing commitment to US$100 billion in climate finance annually for developing countries, to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and to put a price on carbon. 

Our businesses recognize the benefits of climate action,” the signatories said in the letter, published a month before G20 leaders meet in Rome, and the COP26 climate talks begin. “The right policy decisions taken today can drive further investments and spur business decisions in favour of climate solutions across G20 countries.” 

Among the calls from business leaders was an immediate end to new coal power development and financing with plans for phasing out coal-fired power generation by 2030 for advanced economies, and 2040 for other countries. 

“It’s essential that governments take confidence from this letter – the biggest and most ambitious call for policy action from business that we’ve seen – and step up their climate action plans,” said María Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition, which coordinated the letter. 

“Ahead of COP26, countries should renew their national plans and turn them into concrete policies as outlined in this letter. Decisive government and business action can trigger a transition of our energy system to help build a resilient, carbon-free future.” 

The letter, which remains open for companies to sign over the coming month, also calls for scaling up electrification of transport and renewable energy across sectors, including removing barriers to corporate purchasing of 100% renewable electricity to “enable companies to go quicker in their clean energy transition”. 

recent analysis by the Climate Action Tracker found that no G20 country is currently on track to contain global warming to the 1.5ºC target. G20 countries represent approximately 90% of global GDP and almost 80% of global trade and greenhouse gas emissions.  

The letter comes alongside a groundswell of public support for increased government climate action and follows a recent call for greater climate ambition from 587 investors managing $46 trillion in assets. 

Time is running out to keep 1.5 degrees within reach,” said Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever. “The private sector is already taking bold action as the business case for resilient, net-zero economies is crystal clear. But we can only get there if governments set ambitious climate goals.  

“We urge the G20 leaders to go all-in on the goal of halving global emissions by 2030, with targets, policies and public investment commensurate with the scale of that challenge.  In doing so, they can set the world on course for a new era of sustainable, inclusive and resilient growth, at a time when it has never been more necessary.”   

Lastly, the letter called for public finance to align around a 1.5ºC trajectory by ensuring that existing public climate finance commitments are met. Alongside this were calls for climate-related financial disclosure of risks, opportunities and impacts to be made mandatory for corporations.  

Chairman and CEO of Asics, Motoi Oyama said: “We appeal to G20 leaders to seize this pivotal moment to take action that ensures we can collectively halve global emissions by 2030. Business has the potential to bring about rapid change, but we need clear and consistent policies to drive the business investments and decisions that will build stronger, just, and more resilient economies, both for our own business activities across the globe, as well as those of our business partners in other G20 countries. We believe that for people to achieve a sound mind in a sound body, we need a sound earth.”
 
The We Mean Business Coalition is a group of seven non-profit organizations – BSR, Ceres, CDP, Climate Group, Corporate Leaders Group Europe, The B-Team and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development – working to catalyze business and policy action to halve emissions by 2030 and accelerate an inclusive transition to a global net-zero economy by 2050. 

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