ICYMI: Business Leaders from Three Continents Discuss Climate ‘Call to Action’ at COP26

November 15, 2021

On Wednesday, November 10, Business Roundtable participated in a panel discussion at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) on the international business community’s “call to action” to tackle the threat of climate change while enabling growth, fostering competitiveness and supporting communities. The moderated conversation featured business leaders from three different continents and was hosted by Glasgow Is Our Business. 

George Oliver, Chair of the Business Roundtable Energy and Environment Committee and Chairman and CEO of Johnson Controls, discussed the business community’s “rallying around climate change”:

It’s clear that the business community has come together and [is] truly rallying around climate change—not only understanding the urgency, but more important now, the commitments that are being made to be able to address climate change.”
“There is understanding [that] the risks [of] global warming are real, they’re increasing. It’s costly and, probably most important, irreversible. So what we’ve been doing, not only as Business Roundtable—we believe that the business community plays a huge role in being able to solve the problem. And that [it] has to come together, not only in the private sector, but now with the public sector ... so that the fundamentals are in place to be able to solve the problem.”

Oliver went on to explain the importance of global cooperation:

“Within Business Roundtable, we've been working with the European Round Table, with the Business Council of Mexico, Business Council of Canada and then the Business Council of Australia. And we’re also working aggressively with other business [associations] across the globe—because as global companies, we do think it’s important that the business community comes together.”
“Prior to COP, we put together a joint statement—not only demonstrating the cooperation that we see globally across business, but really a call-to-action on the policymakers that we identified the seven key actions that we outlined in the statement. First is, and probably most important I think we’ve heard throughout the COP, is prioritize and accelerate international cooperation. That we are in global markets ... from a business standpoint and [as a] global business, we need to make sure we have a common framework so that we can drive the same fundamentals no matter where we do business across the globe. And that also is true for the policies that get implemented ...”

The panel was a follow-up to the October 28 joint “call to action” signed by Business Roundtable, the European Round Table for Industry (ERT) and the Business Councils of Australia, Canada and Mexico urging their governments to promote seven actions to meet the urgency and scale of the climate challenge and bring the rest of the world along. The panel featured: Dimitri Papalexopoulos, Chairman of the Executive Committee of TITAN Cement Group on behalf of the ERT; Dr. Andrew Forrest AO, Chairman & Founder of Fortescue Metals Group, Fortescue Future Industries, Minderoo Foundation & Tattarang on behalf of the Business Council of Australia; Karn Manhas, CEO of Terramera on behalf of the Business Council of Canada; and moderator Laura Lane, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of UPS.

Catch up and watch the full conversation here.