[Geneva | Author: iSeek]
United Nations officials and business representatives from across the world met in Geneva from 20-21 October for the first UN-backed "Caring for Climate" gathering.
The meeting, which also brought together civil society organizations and government representatives, discussed business solutions to the problem of global warming and ways to speed up action on climate change.
It was the first gathering of signatories to the "Caring for Climate" scheme, jointly launched last year by the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
Chief Executive Officers of more than 150 companies – including 30 from the Fortune Global 500 – signed on to the initiative at the time of its launch. Nearly 300 businesses, covering 30 industry sectors in 48 countries, including emerging and developing economies, have since signed on.
"Caring for Climate" seeks to advance practical solutions and help shape public policy as well as public attitudes on climate change.
"Climate change will undoubtedly reshape the business landscape as we know it," said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. "Whether or not companies take early action on climate change is crucial."
The Geneva meeting aimed to create a shared path in support of an effective successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012. It also sets the stage for a World Business Summit on Climate Change, to be convened in Copenhagen in May next year.
During a series of plenary sessions and interactive workshops, participants discussed best practices and policy outlines with regard to climate change; investments and technologies; as well as emerging climate leadership in developing nations.
"Recent weeks of financial turmoil are a reminder of fundamental decisions that need to be taken about how we run our economies and business with longer term climate change impacts in mind," said Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP.
USG Steiner noted that "Caring for Climate" participants are showing hope for the future, taking action in all regions and addressing climate change in a strategic manner.