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The work of The Consumer Goods Forum in addressing deforestation and emissions from refrigeration is an example of bold, collective action.

We are encouraged by industry’s efforts to work together to tackle climate change. One company can’t transform the industry by itself, and so the work of The Consumer Goods Forum is integral to driving positive change globally.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Action 2020 program is another such example. It will shortly deliver a suite of scalable business solutions to a range of climate and development challenges.

These examples demonstrate a shift in corporate understanding that has not happened a moment too soon.

The UN estimates that economic losses from natural disasters since 2000 are $2.5 trillion, at least 50 percent higher than previous international estimates.

Scientific American recently reported that floods alone could cost the world’s cities $1 trillion annually by 2050.

Anyone who wants to be in business over the coming years and decades needs to engage now, both on the politics and the policy.

Politically much depends on the choreography of key meetings in the run-up to COP21 in Paris in 2015, not least UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Summit in New York this September.

But most of all it depends on the extent to which leaders in every sector feel empowered to lead.

This is why we welcome the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, led by former Mexican President Felipe Calderon. It is examining how nations, cities and companies can achieve their core economic and social goals whilst
simultaneously reducing the risk of dangerous climate change.

The good news that many sectors of society, including business, are not just listening but are acting in ways that can make Paris 2015 the success it needs to be for seven billion people, rising to over nine billion by 2050.

In the past, climate summits have fallen short because leaders were asked to make sacrifices in the name of a common good. Today the value proposition is dramatically different.

Today we simply ask all leaders to recognise the changes they must make for what they are – the beginning of the end of the high carbon era and the birth of a new kind of economy. An economy in which the new businesses of the future and the forward-thinking ones from the past will come together to power up a new sustainable industrial landscape and a brighter future for us all.

Each one of you reading this has a unique role to play in making this a reality. Whether leadership through business action, political courage or simply spreading the message that the time to act is now, we urge you to step up and play your part in changing the course of history.


This post was co-authored by:

Paul Polman & Christina Figueres