Prince Charles’ business leaders back zero emissions goal

Leading corporations have endorsed campaigns to slash emissions and promote carbon pricing

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales (Pic: Dan Marsh/Flickr)

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales
(Pic: Dan Marsh/Flickr)

By Megan Darby

Coca Cola, Shell and Tesco are backing a campaign to slash carbon emissions to zero by mid-century.

They are members of the Prince of Wales corporate leaders group, which on Thursday announced its support for the “Track Zero” initiative. It is also endorsing the World Bank’s carbon pricing push.

Prince Charles, patron of the group, is due to deliver a video message at next Tuesday’s climate summit in New York.

In an address to the world leaders assembled by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, Prince Charles will say action on climate change is “the only rational choice”.

“The battle against climate change is surely the most defining and pivotal challenge of our times,” he will tell the gathering.

“We cannot meet the climate change challenge unless business and government actively work together.”

Leadership on climate “makes business sense”, group chair Phillippe Joubert said ahead of the summit.

He called for accelerated ambition ahead of the Paris 2015, when negotiators are set to strike a global climate deal.

Report: Zero net emissions

The group will jointly host an event at the Empire State Building with Track Zero and engineering firm Skanska on how cities can go carbon neutral.

Skanska’s offices in the building have been renovated to the US Green Building Council’s highest standards.

Elizabeth Heider, chief sustainability officer of Skanska US, said: “Investment in low-carbon, energy efficient options makes business sense and is the best strategy for a prosperous future economy.”

The World Bank is set to launch a statement on carbon pricing at the summit, which its leading climate envoy Rachel Kyte told RTCC might surprise critics.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden endorsed the approach, which he said had the advantage of “spreading the burden fairly”.

A carbon pricing system will accelerate a shift to natural gas from more polluting fossil fuels, he said, as well as promoting energy efficiency and low carbon technology.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, also a member of the corporate leaders group, talked up this week’s New Climate Economy report, which concluded that climate action and economic growth can go hand in hand.

“Around US$90 trillion will be invested in cities, land use and energy infrastructure globally between now and 2030,” he said.

“The scale of this investment means there is a huge opportunity to create better growth and tackle climate change.”

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