Udayavni Special

Davos readies for determined push to help launch a decade of delivery

PTI, Jan 19, 2020, 6:07 PM IST

Davos: As top world leaders get ready for the 50th WEF Annual Meeting in this Swiss Alpine resort town, the Geneva-based organisation’s founder Klaus Schwab on Sunday urged all members and partners of the Forum to commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier.

In letters sent to all WEF members and partners, Schwab underlined the need to put in place concrete measures for a cohesive and sustainable world.

The move comes just ahead of the WEF’s annual meeting, starting on Monday and expected to be attended by more than 3,000 world leaders including top CEOs and political leaders including US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The 50th annual meeting will have a theme of ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.’

In the letter, Schwab said, “The opportunity and the need for companies and investors to show leadership on climate change is more imminent than ever before.”

He said committing to tackle the urgent issue of climate change is also in line with the stakeholder imperative of the 2020 Davos Manifesto, a document released by the Forum in December outlining the concept of stakeholder capitalism in the modern era.

The year 2020 also marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, the years since have been marked by under-performance at the government and business level in implementing decarbonization policies.

Schwab’s request will form a key element to discussions across each industry and community group at the Annual Meeting, with the hope of lending momentum to ongoing efforts by government, business and finance leaders at the beginning of this critical decade.

A number of initiatives are expected to be either launched or advanced this week in Davos and these include ESG (Environmental, social and governance) reporting, net-zero asset owners’ alliance, mission possible platform and 1t.org.

The WEF said a common challenge for businesses looking to take action on climate is the lack of a globally accepted standard of measurement. The 140-member International Business Community will meet this week to review and hopefully adopt proposals that could move climate action further into the mainstream.

Besides, a coalition of institutional investors with nearly USD 4 trillion under management has committed to transitioning their portfolios to net-zero emissions by 2050. Members of the alliance include some of the world’s largest insurers and pension funds. The alliance is expected to offer an update on activities in a press conference during the WEF Annual Meeting.

The Mission Possible Platform is a public-private partnership aimed at helping industries that rely heavily on fossil fuels such as aviation, maritime, trucking, chemicals and iron and steel transition to a net-zero future.

CEOs from these industries will meet in Davos to discuss the technology, financing and policy interventions needed for a low-carbon transition.

While the battle against climate change can only be won through systemic change across the financial, industrial and energy sectors, vital support in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere can be gained through adopting nature-based solutions. In support of this, a new platform, 1t.org, will be launched to coordinate and scale up efforts to either plant or restore 1 trillion trees by the end of the decade.

According to Net Zero Challenge, 7,000 companies worldwide now voluntarily disclose climate-related data. However, of these, only a small majority have adopted science-based targets aimed at tackling climate change.

The report also notes that among governments, while 121 have declared an ambition to become net-zero by 2050, only seven so far have developed the policy framework to make it happen.

Besides, Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, has announced a new strategy to put climate at the centre of its investment strategy with plans to, among other things, exit investments with a high sustainability-related risk.

Microsoft has also unveiled an ambition to reach net-zero emissions by 2030 and to have offset all the emissions it has made in its entire history by 2050.

At the same time, Nestle has announced it will invest over USD 2 billion in a move towards food-grade sustainable packaging.

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