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Civil society & business reactions to Paris climate agreement

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4 March 2016

Gap commits to lower emissions & improve working conditions across its supply chain

Author: Vikas Vij, Just Means

"Gap Announces 50 Percent Cut in GHG Emissions by 2020", 1 Mar 2016

…[B]uilding upon the momentum of the landmark Paris Agreement…Gap Inc. has announced an ambitious new climate goal to cut down absolute GHG emissions globally across all owned and operated facilities by 50 percent from 2015 levels by the end of 2020. Gap CEO Art Peck says in the company’s new global sustainability report that change is not just possible, but imperative…In addition to the efforts to reduce its environmental footprint, the company has maintained a steadfast commitment to protect human rights and improve working conditions in garment factories across its supply chain. It is also working to change the lives of one million women through P.A.C.E., its award-winning women's life skills education program...Catalyst…has recognized Gap’s commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity, by announcing that the company would be presented with the 2016 Catalyst Award…Gap…learns more about the root causes of the challenges across the global value chain and strives to identify, test and implement solutions that can help achieve even greater positive impacts.

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8 February 2016

Expert warns about false solutions to climate change put forward by companies

Author: Rachel Tansey, Open Democracy UK

"Looking back at the corporate circus inside COP21", 12 Jan 2016

The world finally has a climate deal. But…the Paris climate agreement fails justice…[T]he Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCSI)…“Financing The Demonstration of CCS in Developing Countries”…argued…needs to push…for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)…CCS…is a prohibitively expensive, risky and far–from–viable proposition…[T]he Major Economies Business Forum on Energy Security and Climate Change (BizMEF)…event was entitled “Business Perspectives on INDCs”. INDCs…countries' plans of how they're going to cut emissions…Since INDCs are both no where near ambitious enough, and not legally binding, it seems clear that what is a positive development for business is a very negative one for people and planet…I went along to the WBCSD's 'Low Carbon Technology Partnerships Initiative (LCPTI): Results and Outlook to 2016'. LCTPI's “nine big business solutions” include Climate Smart Agriculture…as well as CCS and agrofuels…[T]hese false 'solutions'…protect the business models and power of multinationals, regardless of impacts on local communities, environments and the climate…[Also refers to BMW, BP, BNP Paribas, Caterpillar, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Dow, EDF Trading, Enel, Engie, ExxonMobil, Ford, LafargeHolcim, McDonalds, Monsanto, Nestle, Pfizer, Shell, Statoil, Total, Vattenfall, and Volkswagen.]

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5 February 2016

PwC argues in light of COP21 decisions, investors should assess risks of the transition to a low-carbon economy

Author: Jon Williams, PwC, Business Green

"Climate risk and financial services – the road from Paris", 3 Feb 2016

…The climate agreement…recognises the big gap between the overall global goal and current national climate policies and emissions targets…[B]usiness faces both the risks arising from increasingly ambitious policies and regulations designed to reduce emissions…and the physical risks implied by 3 degrees of warming…Thermal coal is especially vulnerable…Over time, the national climate plans should raise the relative value of lower carbon investment…One reaction to these climate policy risks has been to simply divest from fossil fuels…[A] rapid low carbon transition poses a potentially material risk to financial institutions that manage carbon intensive assets or liabilities…This presents a strong business case for quantifying and actively managing climate risks in investment portfolios, including stock selection and the focus of company engagement…By…being able to compare climate risk against other risks, a pension fund will be in a better position to manage its climate risk exposure…

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5 February 2016

UK: Pension funds file shareholder motions urging greater transparency by mining firms on climate risks

Author: Michael Klimes, Professional Pensions

"UK schemes join global battle against mining giants over climate change", 2 Feb 2016

Some of UK’s largest pension schemes…have called on Anglo American, Glencore and Rio Tinto to be more transparent over climate change risks. The investors…have backed shareholder resolutions against the companies, which will be held at their respective annual general meetings (AGM) later this year. In a filing…the investors from all around the globe expressed their concerns as part of the ‘Aiming for A' investor coalition. The group first announced…that it would be filing the resolutions at the mining companies, just days after a [climate] deal was agreed…in Paris…Schroders co-filed across the largest number of Anglo American shares. Its global head of stewardship Jessica Ground said: "…By co-filing and working with 'Aiming for A' we are supporting a more transparent and public discussion of these risks." On the public sector side, local government funds belonging to the LAPFF made up half of the largest co-filers by shares held at Anglo American…[Also refers to BT, Aegon, Aviva, AXA, and BNP Paribas.]

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18 January 2016

IPIECA's response to the Paris Agreement on climate change

Author: IPIECA

IPIECA welcomes the Paris Agreement and sees it as a crucial step in global efforts to address climate change…[E]fforts deployed by all stakeholders – governments, business and civil society – have intensified and contributed to reaching an ambitious outcome…The agreement is an important milestone that will send a strong signal going forward, but more work and action by all stakeholders will be needed…IPIECA supports and encourages governments in their efforts to reduce GHG emissions…We believe it is possible to address climate change risks whilst also meeting growing global energy demand and supporting economic development…In 2016 and beyond, IPIECA…will be undertaking work on topics including CCS, carbon pricing, good practice on methane emissions management, climate reporting and transparency. In the first half of this year, we will be assessing the…implications of the Paris agreement to help our industry develop our vision for low–emissions pathways…

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12 January 2016

"The hard work starts now": The Paris Agreement, one month on

Author: Madeleine Cuff, Business Green

…[T]he consensus reached in Paris is only the first step…The Paris text was adopted by consensus at COP 21, and now each country needs to individually ratify the agreement…The Paris Agreement won't come into effect until 2020, but many campaigners, politicians and businesses are keen to using the momentum generated from the recent talks to spur early action…[T]here are…key events happening…for business leaders to stress the importance of keeping to their Paris commitments. The first is the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum…[N]ational governments will also be under increasing pressure to align their domestic policies with emissions reductions plans…Nick Molho from the Aldersgate Group…argues…"The key thing for business will be how attractive the domestic policy proposals are in the context of a global economy that is going low-carbon,"…Yet the achievements at COP21 have inspired a new optimism many…are determined to maintain…

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3 January 2016

UK: Pension funds & law firms urge fossil fuel companies to disclose climate risks following Paris climate agreement

Author: Tom Bawden, Independent (UK)

"Climate change targets 'have huge implications for UK pensioners'",

Britain’s biggest carbon polluters stand to lose billions of pounds from tough new climate targets…the country’s biggest pension funds have warned…Analysts say that more than three-quarters of the world’s known coal, oil and gas reserves will have to stay in the ground…leaving them in the ground threatens to decimate their profits and share prices…Yet many “carbon-intensive” companies are behaving as though it is “business as usual”…This approach is completely untenable, say pension funds and law firms, now that the Paris agreement has removed any doubt that companies could carry on as normal…The environmental law firm ClientEarth has made it its mission to compel carbon-intensive companies to detail their exposure to climate change...Rhian Kelly, the business environment director at the CBI…said that the Paris agreement would require all nations to “take tough domestic action” to curb global warming, and what business needed was for “the Government to send a long-term price signal so firms can get on and invest in low-carbon technologies, especially in diverse low-carbon, affordable and secure energy generation…[Also refers to Aviva, ExxonMobil, Glencore Xstrata, and Peabody Energy.]

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1 January 2016

Commentary: "How to help your company prepare for climate change in 2016"

Author: Aman Singh, Guardian (UK)

…[The] global climate change agreement…leaves many companies with a big question: how can they continue to grow…with the new climate goals?…[H]ere are five key considerations to help clarify the breadth of the scope of this change…What can a global temperature rise of 1.5-2C mean for businesses?…Companies…need to address this problem in scenario planning…What is the potential cost of climate change?…Accounting for these unintended costs will give companies greater predictability and a surer path to growth…How will climate change impact a company’s valuation? The financial services sector is refining its…criteria…to address climate change, and companies should take note of how these evaluations can impact their stock performance...Do employees understand how climate change links to their business?...Educating employees about the specifics of how climate change will affect their jobs will require consistent and deliberate outreach, opportunities for engagement, and informal and formal conversations at all levels...They will need to understand how every element of their work can impact the natural environment and resulting social conditions...[C]ommunication…could help ensure that all of a company’s efforts…lead to clear, tangible impact on the world’s social and environmental conditions…[Also refers to Citi, Goldman Sachs, and Microsoft.]

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18 December 2015

Carbon Levy Project joint declaration

Author: Climate Justice Program

"Carbon Levy Project – Joint Declaration to Springboard from Paris"

The Paris climate summit was an opportunity for countries to acknowledge the seriousness of climate change…However the Paris agreement will not be enough to stop climate change impacting the most vulnerable communities…Vulnerable communities on the frontline of climate change are already suffering worse droughts, more intense storms, and their homes are already being encroached upon by rising sea levels…Leaving Paris we will push for more ambitious climate action…The industry that is most responsible for climate change is the fossil fuel industry…They have known about climate change for decades, yet have funded climate denialists and have subverted political processes aimed at fighting the problem…We will therefore work to introduce a global fossil fuel extraction levy (the Carbon Levy) to ensure that the people facing the worst impacts of climate change are compensated by those that caused the problem...

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16 December 2015

What the COP21 Climate Agreement Means for Fashion

Author: Kate Abnett, Business of Fashion (UK)

…[T]he Paris deal sends an important signal that all countries…are committed to a low-carbon future…But what does the agreement mean for the fashion and luxury industries?…Some sections of fashion companies’ supply chains present greater risks to the environment than others…[R]aw materials like cotton and cashmere require huge amounts of electricity and water to produce…Another high-impact part of the industry is in transport and logistics…But transitioning to a low-carbon future requires investment…[C]oncerns remain around the real costs that these investments will mean for businesses…There are no legal mechanisms currently holding companies to their sustainability goals…As part of the Paris agreement, countries committed to raise $100 billion a year by 2020, to help developing nations…Pierre Börjesson of H&M…points out that this responsibility begins in its own supply chain, which is made up of smaller sourcing and production companies…Börjesson adds that fashion brands can speed up tech advances that the whole industry can benefit from…However, industry-wide change requires companies to work together…[Also refers to Adidas, BNP Paribas, Google, Kering, Levi Strauss & Co., Nike, and Tiffany.]

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