The heads of 78 major multinational companies from India, Brazil, China, Europe and the US have pledged support for the United Nations’ Climate Deal and have urged world leaders to “reach an ambitious climate deal” that they argue will “generate jobs and growth” across the world.
In an open message, CEOs from 78 companies – a cross-sectoral coalition facilitated by the World Economic Forum that includes banking, manufacturing, construction and energy – extended an “open offer” to governments to co-design climate solutions ahead of the UNFCCC’s Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris.
The conference will see the leaders of nearly 200 countries meet to finalise a global agreement on climate.
“Delaying action is not an option,” they said.
The 78 CEOs represent $2.13 trillion in revenue – equivalent to India’s GDP.
“In the current scenario, emerging nations need, to some extent, to increase their carbon footprint, while developed nations are resistant to reducing theirs. This leads to a perceived dichotomy between development and sustainability. I believe this is a false dichotomy,” Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra said in a statement on the deal.
“Economic growth without environmental sensitivity is a Faustian bargain, as some of our smog filled cities in India and China demonstrate. And a focus on sustainability without rapid development will only serve to perpetuate poverty,” he added.
The message from the CEOs has been welcomed by Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
She said climate action represents a “massive economic opportunity”.
“This is the first internationally directed industrial revolution and will be the source of good new jobs and strong growth for the coming decades, something developing countries are increasingly realizing and taking the lead on.”
The move is part of the ongoing push to deliver a lasting legacy on climate change.
The CEOs hope to capitalise on the momentum created by pledges from over 160 countries, notably from the US and China, in recent months to bolster the case that governments have industry support to take decisive action to combat climate change.