B7: Businesses urged to galvanize net zero ambitions
Business and industry leaders attending this week’s B7 summit will be urged to accelerate a “once in a lifetime” moment to seize the monumental opportunities of a net zero transition.
The Business 7 (B7) is a mainstay of the G7 Presidency calendar. Led by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the three-day virtual summit, kicking off today, will bring together leading business organizations from across the G7 countries, with senior government ministers in attendance.
With six months to go until the crucial UN climate change summit, COP26, the B7 provides a prime opportunity to galvanize business ambition as well as showcase climate and nature breakthroughs.
COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma on Monday will address 200 CEOs from a range of sectors across G7+ countries, thanking companies that have signed up to the UN’s Race to Zero campaign and urging others to follow their lead in committing to help halve global emissions by 2030.
Since the UK took on the G7 Presidency in January 2021 there has been a 47% increase in major companies signing up to Race to Zero under the robust science-based Business Ambition for 1.5C initiative. These businesses now cover more than $13tn in market capital, and employ more than 19 million staff worldwide.
As of today, more than 2,000 companies from across 84 countries have committed to a net zero future. Actions to deliver on these pledges include Walmart working with over 3,000 of its suppliers globally to reduce their emissions through transitioning to renewable energy and making their operations more efficient. Kingfisher is promoting sustainable home products to help customers save resources and money, and is close to sourcing 100% of its wood and paper responsibly. And Enel has installed 29 million second generation smart meters, and 736,000 charging stations for electric vehicles.
Clear financial opportunities
According to Alok Sharma: “215 of the world’s biggest companies have almost $1 trillion at risk from climate impacts. Yet, those same companies have the potential to gain double that amount from the move to green economies.”
“Joining Race to Zero is a clear statement that you can see the possibilities our green future presents. And that you are determined to take them. And it tells your customers that you are serious about genuine climate action,” he added.
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to put the UK’s world-class collaboration between government and business into motion, ensuring we can create jobs, attract private capital and revive our industrial heartlands.”
215 of the world’s biggest companies have almost $1 trillion at risk from climate impacts
The B7 summit will provide a floor for businesses that have recently joined the Race to Zero to share ambition and best practice, including NatWest Group, Hitachi, Saint Gobain, Enel and HP Inc. Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Group, said the bank was “committed to halve the impact of our financed emissions by 2030 and for them to be net zero by 2050.”
Participating B7 businesses are expected to put forward policy recommendations at the end of the summit, which will inform discussions at the G7 Summit in June, where G7 Leaders and guests will look to build agreement among the world’s most prominent democracies on how to create and sustain a green recovery from COVID.
Click here to find out more about the Race to Zero, the global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
A growing, economy-wide momentum proves we are well on the way to creating a healthier and more resilient future. We have taken the decisive first step, setting the destination. Now we have to start moving — fast.
The G7 Summit was a landmark moment in a landmark year for climate action, and a critical stepping stone to the biggest international climate conference since Paris.