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2015 Global Sustainability Summit Blog Series: Expert Insights into COP21

August 20, 2015

By: Meghan Stasz, Director, Sustainability

Today at the Global Sustainability Summit, we had a fascinating general session on the upcoming United Nations (UN) Climate Negotiations in Paris this December. The speakers, David Wei and Jorgette Marinez, are with BSR, a leading nonprofit research and advisory firm. They both have deep expertise in our industry and these issues; Jorgette spent several years with PepsiCo leading global supplier CSR assurance and David was a climate diplomat for the Marshall Islands. Their combined perspective on the upcoming negotiations helped the audience understand what these negotiations are likely to produce and what those agreements could mean for business.

This December the UN will host the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21. At these meetings, heads of state will discuss how to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, possibly resulting in a binding agreement- the first in nearly two decades. These meetings could result in more than just actions and agreements from countries. As David and Jorgette described, we’re likely to see commitments and initiatives from the business community, environmental groups, and other global stakeholders too. In fact, just last month, 13 of the largest companies in the U.S., including several GMA members, signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge with the Obama Administration. This pledge demonstrates support for the Administration to act on this issue globally and  a commitment to: increase energy efficiency, boost low-carbon investing, and make solar energy more accessible to low-income Americans.

This morning, David and Jorgette talked about the major stakeholders at COP21 including the U.S., China, and the European Union, what businesses will be asked to do, and what a global climate change agreement could mean to those in the room. We learned that this agreement will likely be applicable to all countries and include commitments from all major world economies. They also helped participants understand the opportunities such an agreement could provide their companies and provided some strategies to think about climate action.

Overall, this was a terrific session and our participants left with a deeper awareness of the road ahead and how to position their companies for success.

 

 

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