Climate Action

It’s time to unite: stepping up collaboration in the race to net zero

The IKEA Foundation brings together business and philanthropy at COP27 to fight climate change.

The IKEA Foundation brings together business and philanthropy at COP27 to fight climate change.

At the recent COP27 summit in Egypt, we were delighted to partner with the We Mean Business Coalition to host a roundtable discussion with global businesses, policy makers, climate funders and philanthropies. Our goal was to consider how these different groups can work together to reduce global emissions.

Despite everybody’s busy agendas, all 20 representatives from businesses, policy makers, civil society groups and major climate philanthropies came together to discuss how to step up collaboration. This demonstrated the heart of our approach to climate action: our belief, that tackling this crisis will require unprecedented collaboration. Everyone must work together to accelerate the energy transition in line with the targets in the Paris Agreement.

The challenge to businesses and how policy makers can support them

Logistics, construction, digital technology and biosciences were among the industries represented at the roundtable. All spoke of the steps they are taking to reduce their carbon footprint and the challenges they face in doing so.

A common theme was the need for more investment in infrastructure. Without this investment now, it will be difficult to scale up new technologies quickly enough to limit global warming to 1.5⁰C. The scale of the climate crisis requires far greater urgency, particularly in innovation.

There was a consensus that the global public sector needs to play a leading role in this infrastructure investment, for example, hydrogen fuelling stations or charging stations. In addition, governments can help make new technologies economically viable for businesses, through increased access to finance and climate-friendly regulation.

From the side of policy, a question was asked about what kind of role corporates would like to see public finance play to help leverage innovations that take a long time to get to market, which might need a push to de-risk from the public side.

Role of philanthropy

Since its founding in 2014, the mission of the We Mean Business Coalition has been to support businesses to achieve ambitious climate goals. Maria Mendiluce, We Mean Business Coalition’s CEO, spoke of their work to catalyse business and policy action to halve emissions by 2030 and accelerate a fair transition to a net zero economy. Thanks to their efforts over 9,000 companies, big and small, have set science-based targets to reduce their emissions.

The roundtable heard from climate organisations based in Brazil and India about the opportunities and challenges faced by businesses in their countries. Aside from a select few multinationals, many companies do not have the technical, financial and strategic support required to take effective climate action.

Supporting them to develop this and gather better data on climate action efforts to date will be priorities in the years ahead. Regulators can encourage change in these areas. For example, the Securities and Exchange Board of India recently mandated the top 1000 companies in India to report their carbon emissions from 2023.

Philanthropies spoke about their work in emerging economies on these priorities. The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation created ‘Climate Arc’, an NGO that builds links between the worlds of climate science, companies and the financial sector. It aims to help tackle the barriers that prevent capital from flowing to net zero solutions. Bloomberg Philanthropy is supporting the development of the Net-Zero Data Public Utility, which will collect and aggregate net zero climate transition data from private sector climate commitments.

What’s next?

Delegates agreed to continue working together to accelerate corporate climate action in the run-up to COP28 next year. Inspired by this roundtable, we shared research by Systemiq and RMI that identified the systems and interventions where the highest emission reductions can be achieved over the next few years.

As our CEO Per Heggenes said: “There’s still a long road ahead of us to put this into action. The reality is that emissions are still on the rise, despite our efforts. We need to speed up.”