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Interview: Global conversation needed to tackle climate change, says WBCSD head


With the planet at risk, “we need a global narrative” to tackle the urgent challenges of climate change, the head of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) told Xinhua in a recent interview.

“This has to be a global conversation, particularly if we look at some of the big issues like climate change,” WBCSD President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Bakker said.

“We need all companies in the world, Western, Chinese, to all pull their weight and work on decarbonization and reduce the impact on nature.”

Several Chinese companies are members of the WBCSD, and Chinese businesses have good opportunities to engage in the global conversation, Bakker said.

Facing the urgency of climate change, “China has an enormous opportunity to innovate, bring solutions that the rest of the world needs,” Bakker said, adding that “we need to tell China’s story in the right way, so that we can really work together.”

Much more is happening in China than what the world knows, Bakker said. A platform like the WBCSD could help Chinese businesses tell these stories internationally and better position themselves in the global conversation, he added.

China has announced that it will peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. These clear targets “translate very well” into business action, the carbon intensity of the energy system in China has already been reduced, Bakker noted.

Chinese businesses, with their enormous implementation power and creativity in areas like batteries, electric vehicles and solar power, are expected to play a significant role in decarbonizing the world, he said.

Climate change is a global challenge, but it is also an enormous opportunity for China to connect well with other supply chains, Bakker added.

Bakker is expected to visit China in early June this year. As a member of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), Bakker said that the WBSCD and China have a lot of issues in common. The organization has a long-standing positive relationship with the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) and the Chinese Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD).

Bakker said that the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will be held in the United Arab Emirates between Nov.30 and Dec. 12, will be a critical event to discuss ways to speed up decarbonization to prevent climate change from deteriorating.

He urged the business world to bring large-scale innovation, action plans and investment to create a momentum that the world needs to cope with climate change. “If we do not act now on climate change, it might soon be too late,” Bakker said.

Founded in 1995, the Geneva-based WBCSD is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working collectively to accelerate the system transformations needed for a net-zero, nature-positive and more equitable future. Its member companies come from all business sectors and all major economies.

According to Bakker, the organization prioritizes three sustainability imperatives: the warming of the planet, the loss of biodiversity and the mounting inequality.

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