Rodolphe Saadé backs UN call for green recovery aid

CMA CGM was among 155 companies — with a combined market capitalisation of over $2.4trn – to sign a statement yesterday urging governments around the world to align their Covid-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with the latest climate science.

The statement is the largest ever United Nations-backed CEO-led climate advocacy effort and comes at a time where CMA CGM has attracted criticism for its decision to send a raft of ships via the Cape of Good Hope rather than the Suez Canal during the pandemic, a decision that has added significantly to the company’s carbon footprint.

As debates on recovery packages around the world ramp up in the coming weeks, the companies, which are all part of the so-called Science Based Targets initiative, are calling for policies that will build resilience against future shocks by supporting efforts to hold global temperature rise to within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, in line with reaching net-zero emissions well before 2050.

“Saving lives and livelihoods, and building a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable future, are at the heart of our efforts to recover from Covid-19,” said UN secretary-general António Guterres. “We can beat the virus, address climate change and create new jobs through actions that move us from the grey to green economy. Many companies are showing us that it is indeed possible and profitable to adopt sustainable, emission-reducing plans even during difficult times like this.”

The 155 companies have already set, or committed to set, science-based emissions reduction targets. By signing the statement, they are reaffirming that their own decisions and actions remain grounded in science, while calling on governments to “prioritize a faster and fairer transition from a grey to a green economy”.

Policy and spending that incorporates climate targets will reduce vulnerability to future shocks and disasters, create good jobs, reduce emissions and ensure clean air, according to a study from Oxford University.

“Governments have a critical role to play by aligning policies and recovery plans with the latest climate science, but they cannot drive a systemic socio-economic transformation alone. To address the interconnected crises we face, we must work together as an international community to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement,” said Lila Karbassi, chief of programmes at the UN Global Compact, and Science Based Targets initiative board member. “As the largest ever UN-backed CEO-led climate advocacy effort, these companies are leading the way in driving ambitious science-based action and advocacy to help reduce vulnerability to future shocks and disasters.”

The Science Based Targets initiative is a collaboration between the UN Global Compact, World Resources Institute and WWF, independently assessing and validating corporate climate targets against the latest climate science.

“It is imperative that we not only restart the world economy — but also reset it. It would be a tragedy if after spending $10trn to $20trn of public money we simply rebuild the same unequal, vulnerable and high carbon economy we had before,” said Dr Andrew Steer, president and CEO of World Resources Institute. “We applaud the leaders of these 155 companies, who are not only committed to resetting their own companies but are also demanding that the world’s governments act in the light of the best science and best economics which shows that climate-smart policies will create more jobs and stimulate resilient, inclusive economic growth.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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