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CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAMME

23 November 2015

Global business leaders call for historic COP21 climate deal

Business leaders including Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and Unilever chief executive Paul Polman have signed a letter calling on heads of state to reach a strong global climate deal at COP21 in Paris next month.

The letter calls for the proposed deal that is due to be agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference to include a long-term climate goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

The B Team business group consists of 22 major business and civil society leaders, and a circle of high-profile names are aiming to help bring about “the end of business as usual.”

The letter says: “We know this is ambitious, but it is ambition that will generate the global momentum and focus that is critical to success… The science, economic costs and social risks of climate change are becoming increasingly clear. We believe that securing a long-term goal in Paris should therefore be an urgent personal priority for you, as it is for all of us.”

The letter highlights how the signatories are currently implementing strategies that will see their own companies adopt a 'net-zero emissions by 2050' target.

The letter continues: “We know this is ambitious, but it is ambition that will generate the global momentum and focus that is critical to success.”

Commenting on the letter, Sir Richard Branson said: "Now it's time for world leaders to take a stand and COP21 is that opportunity. Governments must come together and sign a powerful and legally-binding global agreement that will tackle climate change and create a lasting impact.

Branson added: “Business leaders should also play a crucial role in this and by making bold commitments, can start to transform their industries for the future.”

The goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is based on scientific research that has found that achieving this target by the year 2100 will only provide a 66 per cent chance of limiting global warming to two degrees.

In September, a host of business leaders attended a B Team forum in New York to address how businesses can adopt the Sustainable Development Goals and act as a catalyst towards greener and more sustainable energy use and environments.

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