Major corporations involvement with climate change mitigation is not new as indicated by a formal statement that was signed more than five years ago. The statement was issued following the sixth meeting of the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, held in February, 2009, at Columbia University in New York. The statement said that climate change a moral issue and they it called for decisive action. Leaders of almost 100 world-wide corporations, including General Electric, Volvo and Air France, endorsed the statement that included calls for “prompt and decisive action on climate change.” The statement sought to lay out a framework to combat climate change and stimulate economic growth. It explicitly called for more clean energy.
The 2009 statement called on governments to set science based targets for global emissions reduction. The business community is demanding that governments provide a predictable regulatory environment.
“We feel we [the business community] are part of the problem, and we feel we need to be part of the solution,” explained by Tomas Ericson, president of Volvo Group for North America.
Robert Edgar, of the National Council of Churches, a member of the Roundtable group, said everyone has the responsibility to be a steward of earth by limiting future impacts on global warming and preserving nature’s resources.
“We feel this is a moral issue,” Edgar said.
The Global Roundtable on Climate Change was formed in 2004 and it is
focused on scientific, technological, and economic issues critical to
shaping public and industry policy on climate change. It is composed of
high-level, critical stakeholders including senior executives from the
private sector and leaders of international governmental and
The Roundtable has five over-arching objectives
- To explore the potential for developing an improved global
consensus on core scientific, technological, economic and policy issues
related to climate change—one that simultaneously considers the need to
mitigate the very significant risks posed by anthropogenic climate
change and the need for economic growth and human development around the
- To explore technological and policy options for mitigating climate change while meeting global energy needs
champion demonstration projects that test and scale sustainable energy
technologies and other activities and policies that address climate
- To provide a unique forum for discussion, analysis and
exchange of ideas among businesses from all economic sectors and all
parts of the world, international institutions, non-governmental
organizations, and leading academic experts
- To help catalyze new
initiatives and interactions among Roundtable participants that address
climate change mitigation and adaptation
Participants in the Roundtable meetings: ABB, Air France, Alcan, Alcoa, Alliant Energy, Allianz, American Electric Power, BASF, Bayer, Calvert Group, China Renewable Energy Industry Association, Citigroup, Coalition of Rainforest Nations, Columbia University, Deutsche Telekom, DuPont, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, Endesa, Environmental Defense, Eskom, Eni, Exelon, Fairfield University, FPL Group, General Electric, Iberdrola, ING Group, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, International Gas Union, Munich Re, National Grid, NRG Energy, Rainforest Alliance, Republic of Iceland, Ricoh, Suntech Power, Swiss Re, Vattenfall, Volvo, World Council on Churches, World Petroleum Council, and many others.
It would appear that six years after the 2009 formal statement from the Global Roundtable on Climate Change we are repeating the same messages and banging the same drum. The question that we must ask is whether businesses are doing enough to achieve the goals laid out in this statement.