Global Business Leadership: Coming Through Loud and Clear

Global Business Leadership: Coming Through Loud and Clear

Business is putting its money where its mouth is! Philippe Joubert, Chair of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the climate champion for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, had this to say prior to Paris: “We expect world leaders to demonstrate their leadership in finalising the agreement required and we urge them to listen to the voice of business.” Bill Gates announced an initiative called Mission Innovation, as “a commitment by more than ten countries to invest more in research on clean energy.” Public private partnerships, investments in clean energy and business innovations are all part of the solution. Read More


By We Mean Business (9 December 2015):

With just 48 hours to go before the end of the COP21 UN climate conference, business organisations working with thousands of corporations and investors urged world leaders to ensure that a clear and specific long-term emissions goal is included in the final Paris agreement.

Business is looking to the UN climate talks in Paris as an opportunity to receive a clear signal that governments are committed to the transition to a low-carbon economy, members of the We Mean Business coalition said, in a letter to Heads of State and Government coordinated by the The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group.

The letter states: “To deliver such a signal, we need to see an agreement that provides a clear direction of travel and confidence that we will advance to meet it. This requires a clear and specific long-term emissions goal well before the end of the century coupled with a five-year ambition mechanism that begins around 2020.

“With such a signal business and investors will be able to scale up the already considerable investments and actions they are making and deliver trillions of dollars of investment over the next decade. We urge you to bear in mind the benefits of these trillions of dollars that will be unlocked, which will far outweigh the costs of contributing to and mobilising the $100 billion discussed in the negotiations.”

Philippe Joubert, Chair of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, which brings together 23 European companies employing 2 million people in 170 countries, with combined revenues of $170 billion, said: “We expect world leaders to demonstrate their leadership in finalising the agreement required and we urge them to listen to the voice of business. We need a clear vision of the world we’re shaping for tomorrow, a direction of travel. This means a specific long-term zero emissions goal well before the end of the century. The impetus from a strong Paris outcome will enable us to speed up and scale up our solutions.”

Nigel Topping, CEO of We Mean Business, said: “We believe that, under the very capable leadership of the French Presidency, the majority of ministers are working well towards an historic outcome – a robust, transparent, enduring, dynamic and legally binding climate regime containing all major emitters that has the potential to keep the 2°C target within reach.”

About We Mean Business

We Mean Business is a coalition of organizations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors. These businesses recognize that the transition to a low carbon economy is the only way to secure sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all. To accelerate this transition, we have formed a common platform to amplify the business voice, catalyze bold climate action by all, and promote smart policy frameworks.

Founding partners of the coalition are: BSR, CDP, Ceres, The B Team, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, and WBCSD.

About The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) brings together 23 European business leaders who work under the patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to advocate solutions on climate change to policymakers and business peers within the EU and globally. CLG members are committed to playing a leadership role in securing a just, low-carbon transition, both in terms of changing their own businesses and sectors, and advocating change in the wider economic and political context. At a minimum the CLG supports the goal of achieving net zero emissions globally well before 2100. CLG members are: 3M, Acciona, Anglian Water Group, BT, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Doosan, DSM, EDF Energy, Ferrovial, GlaxoSmithKline, Heathrow, Iberdrola, Interface, Jaguar Land Rover, Kingfisher, Lloyds Banking Group, Philips, Skanska, Sky, Tesco, Thames Water, Unilever, United Technologies. The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) provides the secretariat to the CLG.

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Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg & More Than 20 Other Billionaires Launch Coalition To Invest In Clean Energy

Kerry A. Dolan for FORBES (29 November 2015):

I track the world’s wealthiest people and their philanthropy. A day before the start of the United Nations climate talks in Paris, Bill Gates is announcing the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of more than 20 billionaires who have agreed to invest in innovative clean energy. “Our primary goal with the Coalition is as much to accelerate progress on clean energy as it is to make a profit,” Gates says in a post on his website.

Gates and world leaders will also be announcing an initiative called Mission Innovation, which Gates describes as “a commitment by more than ten countries to invest more in research on clean energy.” The 20 countries include the U.S., Brazil, China, Japan, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and many others. Each country pledges to double government investment in clean energy innovation and to be transparent about its clean energy research and development efforts.

Bill Gates has invested in clean energy in the past, but this is his most public statement to date. He is joined in the Breakthrough Energy Coalition by some billionaires who have been outspoken and committed to clean energy, including former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer and venture capitalists Vinod Khosla  and John Doerr; all three men live in California.  The coalition also includes members not closely tied to clean energy, including Nigerian cement titan Aliko Dangote (who is also Africa’s richest man), Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani and Chinese e-commerce mogul Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba.

On his Facebook page, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg writes, “Priscilla and I are joining Bill Gates in launching the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to invest in new clean energy technologies.”

Update Nov. 30, 6pm ET: Bill Gates told CNN that some of the coalition members will invest directly in energy technologies and others will invest through a fund that the coalition will create. Gates said that other people will likely join the coalition. Gates expects the coalition to fund over 100 companies over the next decade.

Other prominent members of the coalition include founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, former hedge fund manager John Arnold, founder Marc Benioff, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, investor George Soros, HP CEO Meg Whitman, Saudi Arabian investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Japanese telecom investor Masayoshi Son. In addition to Virgin Group’s Branson, coalition members from Europe include Hasso Plattner of Germany, who cofounded software firm SAP; Xavier Niel of France, founder of the telecom-focused Iliad Group; and Chris Hohn of the U.K., founder of The Children’s Investment Fund, a hedge fund.

The operating principle of the coalition is that “the world needs widely available energy that is reliable, affordable, and does not produce carbon,” according to the coalition’s website.  “The only way to accomplish that goal is by developing new tools to power the world.” The coalition is working with the countries that have agreed to the Mission Innovation initiative.

Gates and the other coalition members make it clear that the need for clean, affordable energy is not being met currently. “The urgency of climate change and the energy needs in the poorest parts of the world require an aggressive global program for zero-emission energy innovation,” they say on the Breakthrough Energy Coalition website. “The new model will be a public-private partnership between governments, research institutions, and investors.”

The coalition emphasizes that government-funded research has been successful in the past in space, defense, technology and medical research. But there is a hurdle to achieving the same level of success with clean energy, the coalition points out: “current governmental funding levels for clean energy are simply insufficient to meet the challenges before us.”

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition site does not state the dollar amount that the private investors plan to put behind their new commitment, nor the time period over which they plan to invest. It does state that they will invest early, invest broadly, invest wisely, invest boldly and invest together.

Update Dec. 1, 2015: A spokesman for Bill Gates confirmed that Gates plans to invest $1 billion in clean energy companies over the next five years. The other billionaires and members of the coalition, which includes the University of California, are expected to invest at least a combined $1 billion over that same time period.

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