Climate Week Paris: a week of commitment for business and investors

Summary

Climate Week took place in Paris from May 18 to 24 at UNESCO headquarters. During this international meeting, the leaders of big groups and SMEs joined forces with policymakers from all over the world. The aim of the week-long event was to take stock of best practices, scale up the involvement of companies and investors in the fight against climate change and mobilize governments, six months before the COP 21.

11Juin.
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Staged by the Climate Group, the week featured two important and eagerly-awaited events: the Business & Climate Summit and Climate Finance Day – both key moments for discussing how to implement a low-carbon economy through the investments and commitments of governments and institutions.

The UN Secretary General’s call for the private sector to take a more active role in the world decarbonization process, the Business & Climate Summit mobilized attendance on an impressive scale.

Opened by François Hollande and brought to a close by Tony Blair (see video message), Christiana Figueres and Laurent Fabius, the Business & Climate Summit brought together more than 2,000 international business leaders and policy-makers, together with investors from both Western and emerging countries. In their conclusions, business called on policymakers « to leverage public funds and private sector finance towards low-carbon assets; to introduce carefully designed, robust and predictable carbon pricing; and to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. »  

Staged in response to the UN Secretary General’s call for the private sector to take a more active role in the world decarbonization process, the Business & Climate Summit mobilized attendance on an impressive scale. In a press release published at the end of the summit, serving as a declaration of good intent, the 25 coalitions of signatory businesses, representing over 6 million companies from more than 130 countries, made a commitment « to promote the global transition towards a low-carbon economy resistant to climate change ». All sides emphasized the importance of introducing carbon pricing. Meanwhile, Climate Finance Day brought around a thousand investors together, when commitments were notably undertaken by AXA, the Caisse des Dépôts and Bank of America.

Six months from COP 21, the aim of Climate Week was to show that ambitious action on behalf of the climate is based on a new equilibrium: ensuring economic growth while limiting a global temperature increase to no more than 2°C. A challenge which implies a long-term vision, cooperation between states and business, and considerable public and private investment: the World Economic Forum estimates such investment at $1 billion per year until 2030. For Laurent Fabius, this unique event has been a turning point: « Politics have changed. The agreement between Obama and Xi Jaoping is important in this respect. » The French Minister of Foreign Affairs enjoined companies to « automatically factor the climate into investment decisions » and to publish their contributions to the fight against climate change.

« As governments, we need to give a clear signal. COP 21 will be studying the price of carbon, » he said, speaking on behalf of the policy-makers.

A crucial event in the lead-up to COP 21, Climate Week provided an opportunity to business and investors – which are not invited to the summit in December – to make their views heard as essential players in the fight against climate change.