The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sent a stark reminder of the challenge of climate change, noting that in order to hold global warming to an increase of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, we have to slash GHG emissions by about 45% in 12 years.

Shortly after, at COP24, member states reaffirmed the timeline agreed in Paris for countries to submit national climate commitments by 2020.

The private sector has a critical role to play and every reason to do its part. Last year, we saw an unprecedented rise in the number of companies aligning with the Paris Agreement. One-fifth of Global Fortune 500 companies have now committed to set science-based targets. The New Climate Economy report suggests that all Fortune 500 companies set science-based targets by 2020. As these companies recognize that greater ambition reaps greater benefits, some are now also pursuing 1.5°C aligned emissions reductions targets and committing to be net-zero by 2050,

...noted Ms. Kingo.

In this context, she continued, while geopolitical issues remain challenging, we need new forms of cooperation and a new networked multilateralism, with the UN at its centre, but with closer links with the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders.

Networking and being inclusive is essential in the shift toward a net-zero world so that we can bring about an economy-wide transformation on a scale we have never seen before.

As such, governments looking to speed progress on climate and development goals will need to find champions among those companies with shared interest in policies that limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

To this end, we will need far more corporate leadership to help assess the implications of climate change, integrating their climate commitments into policy positions and providing constructive, responsible input to government.

In this spirit, the UN Global Compact will mobilize businesses everywhere to support the UN Secretary General’s call for raised ambition and leadership, and create the “tipping points” needed to make climate action business as usual.

Together we can take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts and send strong market signals, accelerating pathways to low-carbon and resilient development. By catalyzing multi-stakeholder dialogues and partnerships, we can create more sustainable, inclusive and principle-based solutions.