Meet the COP26 Champions
At the COP 21 United Nations climate change conference in Paris, governments agreed that mobilizing stronger and more ambitious climate action is urgently required to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. To connect the work of governments with the many voluntary and collaborative actions taken by cities, regions, businesses and investors, nations decided to appoint two high-level champions.
The champions work focuses on two crucial areas:
- Engage with interested Parties and non-Party stakeholders– This work builds on existing initiatives and supports new and more geographically diverse initiatives. Focus is placed on connecting initiatives and coalitions with national action plans such as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement. This helps bringing more transparency, with result tracking and lends demonstrable credibility to climate action.
- Input from the champions efforts to mobilize action helps the secretariat organize technical expert meetings and, in collaboration with the Executive Secretary and the current and incoming Presidents of the Conference of the Parties, coordinate annual high-level events to spur even greater ambition and action.
High-Level Champion of Chile: Gonzalo Muñoz
Mr. Gonzalo Muñoz is a business entrepreneur and social change-maker at the forefront of environmental innovation in Chile, who reinvented the country’s recycling industry to usher in a future without waste. He did so by founding a recycling company in 2009 and, ever since, has been presiding over the expansion of the company to other parts of Latin America. His company produces a recycling station capable of recycling 90 percent of household solid waste. Through the popularity of his innovation, Muñoz has been leading a cultural movement to advance environmental sustainability and social inclusion.
In recognition of his leadership, Gonzalo Muñoz was awarded the Circulars 2019 international prize at World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos and was also invited to join the New Plastics Economy advisory panel at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
High-Level Champion of United Kingdom: Nigel Topping
Mr. Nigel Topping was the CEO of We Mean Business until December 2019, where he drove radical collaboration for climate action among NGOs working with the world’s most influential businesses. This coalition played a key role in bringing the constructive voice of business in support of the Paris Agreement and, under Nigel’s leadership has continued to drive ambition and action to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon economy.
Previously, Nigel was Executive Director of CDP, launching new programs and partnerships including supply chain, water, forests and cities. Nigel has 18 years’ experience in the private sector, including as a member of the management board of the world’s largest manufacturer of brake pads, TMD Friction.
Nigel is a commissioner on the Energy Transitions Commission and has been instrumental in the launch of many collaborative initiatives such as Science Based Targets, Business for Nature and the Global Commons Alliance.
He holds an MA in Mathematics from Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK and an MSc in Holistic Science from Schumacher College, Devon, UK.