Some of the world’s largest corporations and civil society organisations have reaffirmed their commitment to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, and have called on governments to strengthen their commitments and plans.

“All in” to deliver Paris Agreement

Over 200 businesses, leaders and civil society voices signed a declaration stating that they are “all in” to deliver the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep climate change below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The declaration was made on Agriculture Day at COP27 (12 November 2022) and has since been signed by the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Nestle, and Mastercard.

“Our commitment to the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact is unwavering,” says the pact. Corporate leaders who signed the statement include Sir Richard Branson, Steve Howard, Mary Robinson, and Johan Rockström.

The pact was convened through the We Mean Business Coalition, whose goal is to catalyse business and policy action to halve global emissions by 2030 and accelerate an inclusive transition to a global net zero economy by 2050. To hasten the shift to an equitable and climate-resilient net zero economy, the Coalition works with a core group of seven business-focused climate non-profit groups. Now, it is mobilising big business commitments to net zero.

The time to transition is now

Action needs to be taken quickly to mitigate rising CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions if the goal of 1.5C is to be maintained. According to the annual Global Carbon Budget report, which was published at COP27, we would have to see reductions in emissions similar to those seen during the pandemic if net-zero is to be achieved by 2050. Having some of the world’s biggest countries on board emphasizes that “1.5C is a limit not a target.”

“We must put all our efforts to stay within this limit and avoid the worsening impacts, suffering and costs that any overshoot will bring. Already at 1.2°C we are seeing the flooded villages of Pakistan, burning forests and towns of California, dried up rivers across Europe and parched fields in Somalia,” the declaration states.

Not enough has been done to combat climate change and achieve net zero, the statement says. New UK guidelines released in early November are being set to push curbing the 1.5C rise: a new ‘gold standard’ for corporate net zero was launched for private companies to follow. The Disclosure Framework and accompanying Implementation Guidance were announced by the UK Transition Plan Taskforce (TPT), and aim to assist entities to disclose credible, useful, and consistent transition plans.

The We Mean Business Coalition writes: “National leaders must demonstrate solidarity and decide where they stand. Decisions taken in the coming days will define our ability to build an equitable and resilient global economy. They will reverberate around the world and down the generations. There can be no excuses for backsliding on the commitments made a year ago.”