Sustainability Sensemaking: Corporate Climate Diplomacy

We’re pleased to share the second installment in our Sustainability Sensemaking video series: “Corporate Climate Diplomacy.”

The annual U.N. Climate Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (COP27) is days away and represents a critical milestone for cross-sector collaboration to advance the net-zero transition and other key climate goals. To learn more about the COP27 context, you can watch our first video, “The Road to COP27,” here.

The private sector has a vital role to play to mitigate the impacts of a changing climate and advance resilient solutions, especially to help bridge financing gaps and unleash innovation. Yet, corporate climate commitments are dependent on an enabling policy environment. To better understand the changing dynamics of public-private cooperation on climate issues, our Sustainability Taskforce spoke to the experts.

The climate policy agenda is shaped by three key factors:

  • Policy enables climate action: scaling climate solutions will require the policy infrastructure to incentivize and codify those solutions across industries and sectors.
  • Cross-sector partnerships are key: the most effective climate policies will be co-created with input from all sectors, moving away from the more traditional push-pull dynamic between business and government on regulatory issues.
  • Each sector has a mandate: the public sector is responsible for creating effective policy frameworks and setting achievable targets backed by appropriate funding, while the private sector can mobilize capital and know-how to help close funding gaps and advance innovation and technology.

As Victoria Mills, Managing Director at EDF + Business, asserts, “climate leadership requires policy leadership.” Sasha Mackler, Executive Director of the Energy Program at the Bipartisan Policy Center, agrees, reinforcing that advancing the net-zero transition will “require a different kind of dynamic between the public sector and the private sector.”

Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Executive Vice President at the Bertelsmann Foundation, expects to see more public-private partnerships and “a lot more work with corporations and the policy world” to advance cross-sector cooperation globally.

But as David Wei, Managing Director at BSR, reminds us, “business action doesn’t necessarily depend upon policymakers.” There are many strategic and operational factors that make investment in climate solutions important for both risk mitigation and long-term value creation.

Stay tuned for future installments of the Sustainability Sensemaking series in the weeks ahead.

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