On December 12, COP 21 ended successfully in Paris with an ambitious international agreement reached to moderate temperature increase below 2°C before the end of the century. Presented here is the essence of COP 21 agreement as well as an overview of Danone’s climate commitments and all the events Danone took part in during COP 21 fortnight in Paris.
The 21st session of the COP: a historical climate agreement reached in Paris
The success of the long-awaited Paris Climate conference is huge. In early December, 195 Head of States came together in Paris and agreed on an international document between industrialized, emerging and developing countries in a series of climate commitments.
Although it does not specify a quantified target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the ambition is to keep global temperature rises below – 2°C – even 1.5°C if possible – compared to the pre-industrial era. The text clearly promotes the need to move towards a zero-net carbon world before the end of the century, reducing drastically emissions and not producing more CO2 than the Earth can sequester in natural ecosystems. It also encourages low-carbon development using appropriate technologies and funding. Each state’s contributions will need to be revised every five years. The agreement also recognizes the difference between developed and emerging countries, enacting financial aid provided by the former to the latter, to the tune of $100 billion a year.
Legally binding despite a lack of financial sanctions for non-compliance, this agreement will only be activated in April 2016, in New York. In order to be officially ratified, it will need to be validated by at least 55 countries, representing at least 55% of greenhouse gas emissions before 2020 – the end date of the previous Kyoto agreement. Many questions, beginning with funding and the place of fossil fuels, are still in the air and will need to be discussed at COP 22, scheduled for November 2016 in Morocco.
Danone’s climate ambition fully aligned with COP 21 commitments
Although government commitment is vital, companies also have a crucial role to play, because they are not dependent on the ratification process. In this respect, COP 21 afforded an opportunity to demonstrate and recognize the fact that organizations provide solutions through investments and innovations that fight climate change.
Danone is an active participant in this process, with its bold climate ambition of becoming a zero net carbon company on its full scope of responsibility including agriculture. This climate policy was unveiled by its CEO Emmanuel Faber in November.
With this concrete “zero net carbon” ambition articulated on 5 main goals, Danone recognizes not only its direct responsibility for reducing its carbon footprint through activities along its value chain (manufacturing, packaging and logistics), but also its shared responsibility with regard to the agricultural raw materials that it uses.
A look back on COP 21 events
At COP 21, Danone shared its climate ambitions with a wide variety of stakeholders from NGOs to consumers in several COP 21 dedicated events:
– Hosting an Avant-Première of “Ice & the Sky” movie by Luc Jacquet, partnering with Wild Touch Association to set the stage for the scientific consensus and need for education
– Animating during six months the Danone Climate Change Challenge and organizing a two days Carbon Hackathon in Paris with 80 Danoners coming from 17 countries to foster co-creation on solutions in the spirit of Danone Manifesto!
– At the Grand Palais, the Solutions COP21 exhibition showcased current and future climate solutions to the general public and was attended within a week by over 40,000 visitors. The evian-Volvic booth allowed the general public to explore water resources protection and recycling actions from the famous mineral water brands.
– The Grand Palais auditorium in the heart of Paris historical center was also where Danone held a conference with over 200 guests on December 4 to discuss the need for building a climate-resilient economy and highlight the levers which could be used to move from utopia to mainstream. Co-creation was at the heart of the debate and during this event, Emmanuel Faber and Antoine Frérot, the CEO of Veolia, launched an innovative partnership to catalyze circular economy projects within Danone supply chain around water, waste and energy.
– Emmanuel Faber also supported the Sparknews’s Solutions and Co operation in the Grand Palais opening ceremony attended on December 4th by over 2,000 guests among which many UN representatives, politicians and business leaders. Solutions and Co aims to share climate smart innovations from social entrepreneurs from around the world.
– Another highlight of COP 21 occurred on December 5, at the Global Landscape Forum, when Danone, the Livelihoods Fund and Mars Inc. organized a workshop on “building supply chains of the future”. Over the past two years, the Global Landscapes Forum has evolved into the world’s leading platform for discussing land-use issues. In Paris, the Forum brought together more than 3000 stakeholders from forestry, agriculture, water, energy, law and finance, among others. At the opening ceremony Emmanuel Faber stood alongside Laurent Fabius, President of COP 21, and other key guests to share his vision of the future of our food system.
These key moments during COP 21 allowed Danone not only to share experience in the field and the lessons learned from projects it has co-created with NGOs, authorities and farmers over the past year, but also to increase the number of discussions on the way to see the company’s five main climate goals come to life.