Shell, Unilever, Tesco Among Blue-Chip Firms Urging Climate Action

The Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change has confirmed that over 340 companies from 38 countries have now signed up to its latest Communiqué calling on the world's governments to take ambitious action to limit average global temperature increases to below 2°C.

The 2°C Challenge Communiqué will be formally launched at the Durban Summit next week in a move designed to step up pressure on diplomats as they attempt to broker a new global agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The Communiqué builds on the previous Copenhagen and Durban Communiqués released at the past two UN climate change summits, and calls on governments to make "visible progress" towards a new international treaty, arguing that "without this agreement, business lacks the clarity and certainty needed to invest to its fullest potential".

"We must not let short-term concerns, however important, drive climate change off the agenda," the statement adds.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, director of the Corporate Leaders' Group, said that this "sends a really clear political signal that businesses want a robust, effective agreement out of Durban".

"These companies know that this issue is too important to just kick the can down the road. Real progress is required," she added.

The Communiqué has been backed by some of the world's largest and most influential companies, including Shell, Diageo, Unilever, Tesco, BAA, Cisco and SAP.

It has also secured signatories from around the globe with 195 European firms joined by 54 from the Americas, 22 from Africa and 71 from Asia Pacific.

Unlike the previous Communiqués organised by the Corporate Leaders Group, the document is not solely focused on the UN summit and the NGO will continue to seek signatories through to the Rio+20 Summit next July.

A spokesman for the organisation acknowledged that the number of signatories is well below the more than 900 companies that signed up for the original Copenhagen Communiqué, but insisted that support for the document is continuing to grow.

"We spent six months building support for the Copenhagen Communiqué, but the 2°C Challenge Communiqué was only launched about a month ago and we are expecting to see more signatories come onboard right through to the Rio Summit," he explained.

"The latest Communiqué is also the most demanding we have ever produced and yet there are still hundreds of the world's largest companies signed up to it. It just proves there are plenty of progressive businesses out there."

This article originally appeared on BusinessGreen, and is reprinted with permission.

COP17 photo CC-licensed by the UNFCCC.