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Businesses push for more climate action

10 JUNE 2019

Scania and others reaffirm commitment to climate targets, make recommendations to COP24.


Following a series of discussions that have engaged Scania and more than 60 other major companies, the business sector has submitted its recommendations for action to the forthcoming COP24 UN climate change conference in Katowice, Poland.


The companies have called for zero carbon emissions to be translated into global, national and sector-based carbon greenhouse gas emission budgets up to 2050.  This is very much in line with Scania’s “Pathways” study into how to decarbonise the transport sector, which was presented earlier this year.


“We need transparency on decarbonisation”

“The Pathways Study started with the Paris Agreement,” explains Andreas Follér, Sustainability Manager at Scania. “Then we back-casted for our sector and ended up with four different scenarios. We showed not only what we believe can be accomplished but what we expect from adjacent sectors and other partners in the ecosystem. We put our cards on the table and asked, ‘Here we are, what’s your role in this?’


“We have subsequently formed a coalition with other leading companies. I think we need to enter a new era of transparency towards each other. Leaders should show where we are going so we can all assist each other’s journeys. Then, I believe, we can limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”


Among the companies that have joined the discussions in seven cities around the world are ABB, BP, IKEA, Fortum, Fujitsu Nordea, Philips, Volkswagen and Yara. In total, all the companies involved have combined revenues of USD 1.3 trillion.


Climate action: from risk to opportunity

“We found that much of our discussion throughout the dialogues framed the private sector’s engagement with climate change as a journey from risk to opportunity, with sustainable development ‘another word for innovation’,” the participants report.


Their report concludes that it is clear that policymakers can rely on private sector leadership, finance and innovation to contribute to the Paris Agreement’s climate goals; but authorities must also act to unleash the agreement’s full potential. To this end, the companies have set out recommendations to guide the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the various negotiating parties towards giving the business sector the fullest possible role in delivering the Paris Agreement goals.


Call for global carbon pricing

Among the recommendations are that a global pricing regime for carbon should be encouraged, thereby enabling trade in emission reductions in support of zero carbon emission targets. By pricing carbon, markets can more easily direct finance to the most cost-efficient emission reduction opportunities.


The companies also believe that national carbon reduction contributions should evolve into comparable, reportable, blueprints for zero carbon emissions. They have called for clear incentives to the private sector to move ahead of and beyond regulation and policy, so as to accelerate progress. Meanwhile, counterproductive incentives, such as subsidies for fossil fuels and high greenhouse gas emitting practices in agriculture, should be phased out.


“We learned that many businesses are already charting their way to zero carbon emissions through a new relationship with business, government, society and the environment,” the businesses state in their report.


COP24, the United Nations takes place from December 3 to 14.