Business leaders demand action on climate change

Posted by Kate Taylor

Hundreds of business leaders from around the world yesterday released a demand for "an ambitious, robust and equitable global deal on climate change".

The statement - known as The Cancun Communiqué - is an initiative of the Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change - a cross-sectoral group of major international businesses working with the University of Cambridge.

It argues that there is a strong business case for investing in 'green' technology, and calls for more action from governments.

"Major investments are needed to develop a low-carbon economy and for Europe to continue to lead in this field. This will require a continued involvement of the private sector, along with ambitious and proactive interventions by governments," said European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard.

"I am happy to see that business leaders sincerely care about climate change, and also identify new business opportunities. It is indeed in Europe's own economic and industrial interest to keep ourselves in pole position on the way to a low-carbon economy."

The Communiqué focuses on five key areas: energy efficiency in all sectors, low carbon energy systems, emissions capture and storage, emissions from other greenhouse gases and urban planning, land-use management and land-use change.

Politicians come in for criticism in the Communiqué, which accuses them of being too weak leaving businesses "frustrated and unsure of our low-carbon investment decisions" by failing to be more ambitious in Copenhagen.

Signatories to the Communiqué include Nestlé, Philips, Royal Dutch Shell, Tesco, BT and Unilever. The document's predecessor, the Copenhagen Communiqué, garnered support from more than 950 companies.