COP28: Net-zero transition charter unveiled for private sector

The private sector accounts for approximately 80 per cent of global GDP, as well as the bulk of the world's energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions


Ashwani Kumar

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COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber (right) with Wopke Hoekstra, EU Commissioner for Climate Action. — COP28 UAE/X
COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber (right) with Wopke Hoekstra, EU Commissioner for Climate Action. — COP28 UAE/X

Published: Wed 1 Nov 2023, 3:07 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Nov 2023, 3:10 PM

The COP28 Presidency has launched a charter to mobilise and encourage the private sector to take bolder action on climate and commit to greater credibility and accountability in their net-zero emissions pledges.

The unveiling of ‘Net-Zero Transition Charter: Accountability mobilisation for the private sector’ comes just weeks ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai.

The Charter follows a technical report from the global stocktake on September 8, which showed that the world is off-track to keeping the goals of the Paris Agreement alive.

The Charter recognises the important role the private sector must play in combatting climate change. The private sector accounts for approximately 80 per cent of global GDP, as well as the bulk of the world's energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

“The private sector's engagement in COP28 — their resources, expertise, and commitment — is vital in driving real-world action and achieving the ambitious climate goals set forth by the Presidency,” Dr Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President, said.

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“For every pillar of our Action Agenda – fast-track the energy transition, fix climate finance, focus on nature, lives, and livelihoods, and full inclusivity – companies can leverage their strengths and resources to advance our collective climate goals and provide us with required solutions.”

Dr Al Jaber noted that the Charter will further enable the private sector to take “meaningful action” on climate, track progress, and be held accountable.

“We have a strong collaboration with the private sector already in the consultation and development of many of the outcomes of the action agenda – and I encourage all eligible private sector organisations to make this commitment and sign the Charter today.”

The COP28 Presidency has called for a collaborative approach to reduce emissions by 43 per cent in the next seven years, with all sorts of capital – public, private and philanthropic sources necessary to help solve the emissions gap more effectively.

“Philanthropy equally has a crucial role; they raise awareness on climate issues, they can convene as a neutral partner and bring risk-free capital to fund climate opportunities. More importantly, they can be nimble and help fast-track solutions especially when partnering with public and private funders,” Dr Al Jaber said.

“Less than 2 percent of total philanthropic giving ($810 billion in 2021) goes to climate and this is minuscule relative to the size of the problem we have. I hope to see many more philanthropists coming to COP28 and playing an active role in supporting climate causes and solutions.”

What organisations need to do

By joining the Charter, all organisations will commit to: publicly set 1.5 degrees Celsius aligned, science-based, credible, and transparent Net-Zero 2050 and interim emissions’ reduction targets; do this either through a net-zero aligned national pledge or an internationally recognised net-zero initiative, that holds members to account for their net-zero pledges, or individually following a commensurate scope and level of ambition with the public, third-party validation of their pledge through a generally accepted science-based review process; produce a credible net-zero transition plan, within one year of COP28; and publicly report annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and progress on their net-zero commitment and transition plan, including through high-quality platforms that feed into the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change (UNFCCC) Global Climate Action Portal.

The Charter provides a stepping stone to the work currently being carried out by the UNFCCC in the creation of the ‘Recognition Accountability Framework for non-Party Stakeholders’, which was first announced at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in June.

By signing the Charter or committing to a net-zero-aligned national pledge, organisations will be acknowledged as signatories in the run-up to COP28. Companies who meet all required criteria by November 15, will be featured on the COP28 website.

All signatories will be required to have the appropriate documentation and undertake the necessary steps to align with the Charter's provisions. To ensure transparency and accountability, a progress report will be issued by December 2024 to verify that signatories have taken the necessary actions outlined in the Charter. Signatories that do not meet the Charter’s requirements, will be delisted from the COP28 website and the COP28 progress report.


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