Earlier this week (8 November), Swedish fashion company H&M Group joined more than 50 global companies, whose combined annual revenues equate to almost US$900bn and account for 1% of global GDP, joined the Action Declaration on Climate Policy Engagement at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Independent media and research B Corp company, Corporate Knights and its Global 100 Council, which features the global 100 most sustainable corporations, started the Action Declaration by submitting a roundtable proposal on 20 October, 2022 and gained support from a number of global sustainable organisations.

H&M Group was joined by 56 other signatories from a host of other industries, including BT Group from the telecoms industry and climate campaign Race to Zero, to show their commitment towards climate policy engagement help address climate change, not stall it.

The letter suggests closing the gap on emissions and decarbonising economies by:

  • Supporting climate action aligned with the Paris Agreement when engaging with policymakers
  • Working with their major industry/trade associations to advance alignment with the Paris Agreement
  • Monitoring and disclosing climate policy alignment for their companies and their major industry/trade associations.

H&M joins second open letter for COP27

Earlier on 4 November, the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders which includes more than 100 CEOs of large multinational organisations shared an open letter for world leaders at COP27 ahead of the conference.

In this letter for world leaders at COP27, H&M Group was joined by Zara’s parent company Inditex as well as a number of other global organisations to state that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius “requires significant collaboration and shared responsibility between the private and public sector.”

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The signatories who are described as the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders said: “We are ready to work side-by-side with governments to deliver bold climate action. We encourage all business leaders to set science-based targets to halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 at the latest.

“We believe that business commitments to climate action backed by private sector actions and investments can reinforce the mandate for governments to raise their own ambitions and enable faster progress. Government targets, supporting policies and transition plans can provide clarity, predictability and the competitive landscape to encourage more businesses to take action and to make transition-aligned investments.”

In this context and with leaders meeting at COP27 and the G20, the Alliance called on governments to:

  • Set bold ambitions and follow through on commitments
    Deliver on the promise in the Glasgow Climate Pact and commit to ambitious and Paris Agreement-aligned nationally determined contributions and translate them into plans and policies that at least halve global carbon emissions by 2030 and contribute to global net zero by 2050.
  • Accelerate the transition
    Drive down the green premium of low-carbon technologies for hard-to-abate sectors by unlocking blended finance (concessionary lending, guarantee mechanisms and others), scaling innovative sustainable finance mechanisms, integrating climate and sustainability criteria in public procurement and promoting the alignment of international standards for transformational technologies.
  • The focus is on action. Recognizing that many solutions already exist, there is an urgent need to:
    1. Break down barriers by simplifying regulations, speeding up permitting processes and creating the enabling policy frameworks to accelerate scaling and deploying these solutions. Essential to progress is increased R&D expenditure and the inclusion of digital and physical infrastructure to ensure supply meets demand.
    2. Provide incentives, including policies for emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies on both the supply and the demand side, while also supporting hard-to-abate sectors through additional funding for innovation and the scaling up of new solutions, including circularity, carbon removal and natural climate solutions.
    3. Put a price on carbon and phase out fossil fuel subsidies in a way that is both just and results in their eventual elimination. Combined, this will improve the competitiveness of sustainable low-carbon technologies.
    4. Invest in reskilling and upskilling of those in the workforce that are impacted by the transition and enable more people to participate in the green economy.
  • Invest in mitigation, adaptation and a just transition
    Ensure that developed countries meet and exceed their $100bn commitment and that these funds go directly to supporting developing countries’ efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. This is fundamental to establishing and maintaining confidence between countries to tackle the climate crisis together.
  • Internationally harmonize reporting and disclosure standards
    The standards must be interoperable, decision-useful and implementable to ensure they create trust and lasting change. Finally, market-based instruments (including carbon markets, power purchase agreements, etc.) have an essential role to play in reducing carbon emissions globally but need greater alignment and clear standards and frameworks.

The open letter can be found here for further information.