A staggering 4 billion people around the globe are in groups or communities that are especially vulnerable to climate risks. Many of them are in the world’s developing countries, whose low emission lifestyles have done little to contribute to the climate crisis we now face.
From the biggest cities in the world, to the smallest coastal villages, people are concerned about their own future, the future of their communities, and – in the case of low-lying island states such as Kiribati or Vanuatu – even the future of their nations.
We’ve learnt that small differences in average global temperature rise can have a monumental impact. That’s why the 2015 Paris Agreement was so significant. Its goal of limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees was the most ambitious climate commitment in history. It is a goal we must all strive to protect and achieve.
Unilever has always believed that success can only be realised through public, private and civil society coming together. We’re therefore very pleased to have announced today that we’re joining the UK government as a Principal Partner of COP26, working closely to help accelerate climate leadership and ambition in the lead-up to the summit to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, later this year.
As we embark on the ‘decade of delivery’, we’ll be looking to countries to set ambitious decarbonisation targets, underpinned by a clear roadmap, with milestones for the short, medium and long term. Governments must commit to establishing policy frameworks that give businesses confidence to invest in a net zero future – whether through carbon pricing, renewable energy targets, or regulation to phase out coal and other fossil fuels.
But it’s not up to governments alone to solve the climate crisis. Without decisive action on a global scale, climate change is the biggest long-term risk to Unilever’s business, and I know we are not unique in this. Taking decisive action to help address climate change is not only important for people and the planet, it’s also critical for business.