Considering the fact that the governments across the world are lagging behind in meeting the SDG targets, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted warming in excess of 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century if ambitions do not increase.
At the Climate Action Summit during the annual U.N. General Assembly 2019, Secretary-General António Guterres has challenged the world leaders to come prepared with long-term net-zero targets and new, more ambitious national climate action plans. “The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win,” he said in a statement. “This is not a climate talk summit. We have had enough talk. This is not a climate negotiation summit. You don’t negotiate with nature. This is a climate action summit.”
In lieu of this statement by the secretary-general, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)—which convenes businesses around U.N. goals—is looking to bring the private sector into the fray.
Earlier, the UNGC and U.N. Development Program had called on business leaders to set emissions reduction targets that align with the global push to cap temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius. Now ahead of the U.N. Climate Action Summit, the UNGC announced that 87 companies had signed on to its Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign.
Some of the companies to come on board include Bharti Airtel, Mahindra Group, Dalmia Cement, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, and Wipro among others. The signatories of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign agreed to track—and reduce—greenhouse gas emissions across their entire value chains.
According to the UNGC, this action from the private sector has the potential to create an “ambition loop,” with governments and businesses playing off one another and ultimately driving climate action to the next level.
“We need an ambition loop between the business sector and governments to really push this agenda forward,” Lise Kingo, CEO and executive director of the UNGC, has said at a side event during the Climate Action Summit. “The Secretary-General has been very bold and very inspirational, so we want to do everything we can to support him.”