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Friday, September 25, 2009

Sign the Copenhagen Communique

Earlier this week I attended an alumni event of the University of Cambridge Program for Sustainability Leadership held in Washington DC. One of the speakers was Craig Bennett, Deputy Director and faculty member of the Program.

The program addressed the Copenhagen Communiqué , subtitled 'A call from business for an ambitious, robust and equitable global deal on climate change'.

In two pages, the communiqué establishes a set of principles intended to deliver a message of support from businesses globally, to the negotiators at Copenhagen. Ten pages display the logos and names of the currently 650 companies that have signed up to the principles from across the globe.

Craig is the one of the key drivers behind the communiqué. He made some interesting observations both during his presentation and in a smaller group afterwards (repeated here with his permission). He mentioned that American companies are under-represented (I noticed for example that not all the companies in USCAP or BICEP have signed up). This is partly because the program is European originated and so the staff have a stronger network within Europe. But Craig also shared that some American companies were not comfortable with the statement and declined to sign.

The second component called for in the principles is 'Developed countries need to take on immediate and deep emission reduction commitments'. That is a pretty strong statement and I suspect may have deterred some potential signatories. That said, Craig shared that he was not entirely unhappy having some companies declining to sign. If everyone had said yes, it would have indicated the document was not strong enough.

I suspect that one of the challenges of signing up to a document like this is that there is not an established precedent or approval pathway in most large organizations for resolving a position on such a statement.

I would urge more companies to sign up. BT is in there. I see the logos of many of the companies of my peer group of CR practitioners in the US, but many are not there. You can sign up here

Incidentally, Craig mentioned that there is a signatory from every country in the G20 except Indonesia - anyone able to suggest some contacts who could help Craig with that ?

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