UN Climate Change High-Level Champions call on non-state actors to align their advocacy and engagement with a just transition to net zero 

By Climate Champions | June 22, 2023

The UN Climate Change High-Level Champions have today released a call to action for non-state actors to join the Race to Zero and align their advocacy, policy and engagement with net zero goals. This call to action is endorsed by We Mean Business Coalition, Influence Map, Environmental Defense Fund, and Ceres, and supported by Race to Zero Partners, like Net Zero Asset Managers, Under2 Coalition and Science Based Targets initiative.

Race to Zero’s Partners and 11,000+ members have strengthened norms and voluntary non-state action on net zero. However, delivering a just and inclusive global transition to a resilient net zero society also requires supportive policy and regulatory environments at national levels, reflective of different national circumstances.

The call to action sets out clear steps that non-state actors can take to support and call for ambitious and just net zero policies and regulation which will demonstrate their serious commitment to tackling climate change. Non-state actors can lead the way using their voice to call for the creation of a supportive and aligned policy and regulatory environment that enables all actors to achieve net zero through just transition.

The call to action is endorsed by the We Mean Business Coalition, who today released ‘Ambition to Advocacy: a framework for responsible policy engagement’ publication. The framework provides tools and best practice to enable companies to match their climate advocacy to their climate ambition, and Race to Zero encourages companies to use it to respond to this call to action.

The call to action marks a continuation of action started last year with inclusion of the 5th P (Persuade) in Race to Zero’s criteria, which requires RtZ members ‘to align their external policy and engagement with net zero goals’. This 5th P builds from Race to Zero’s other ‘4Ps’, encouraging 11,000+ members to enact credible net zero pledges, developing climate transition plans, proceeding and aligning with sectoral breakthroughs, and transparently publishing progress.

The call to action also builds from the recommendations of UN Secretary General’s High Level Expert Group on Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities at COP27, and the Pivot Point Report launched last year, which called for building on the groundswell of voluntary climate action into ground rules for the economy.

Next week, during its 3rd year anniversary, Race to Zero will also publish ‘The 5th P Handbook’, a guide for non-state actors on how they can align their advocacy, policy and engagement with net zero goals. The Handbook will feature best in class case studies of Race to Zero members on their climate advocacy, and will serve as a useful resource for Race to Zero’s Partners and over 11,000 members – covering business, finance, cities, states and regions, healthcare and education.

More information? 

The call to action can be accessed here and has two key asks:

  • Join the Race to Zero (if not already in) and follow the 5 Ps framework: Pledge, Plan, Proceed, Publish and Persuade.
  • Align your advocacy, policy and engagement with net zero goals (the 5th P – Persuade).

“Delivering a just and inclusive transition to global net zero requires supportive policy and regulatory environments at national levels, reflective of different national circumstances. All non-state actors and governments have a critical role to play to call for ambitious climate policy that will limit warming to 1.5oC. We all win or lose this race, together” – Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP27

“While voluntary action to reduce emissions is critical, policy and regulation is needed to deliver the reductions that we need urgently at speed, and scale. All non-state actors should align their own advocacy activities with a just transition to net zero, but should also call for ambitious net zero policy through what’s widely become known as the ‘Ambition Loop’.” HE Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28

“I totally endorse the Climate Change High-Level Champions call to action for non-state actors to align their advocacy and engagement with a just transition to net zero. We need actors to align their external policy and engagement efforts, including membership in trade associations, to the goal of reducing global emissions by at least 50% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. This means lobbying for positive climate action and not lobbying against it.” Catherine McKenna – Chair, High Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities

“I encourage all non-state entities to adhere to the Race To Zero campaign, setting a goal to limit warning to 1.5C, by defining short, interim and long term goals. In order to do so, it is important to set credible transition plans, considering fair transition, assessing scope 1,2 and 3 and very important, taking into account third party verification. All these efforts must be leveraged up by a strong net zero policy agenda. As business leaders, we must call for it.” Ms Camila Escobar, Member of the High Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities & CEO at Juan Valdez Café (Colombia)

“Staying silent can no longer be an option. Companies serious about meeting their climate targets know that the right government policies are critical to accelerate action. Loud and consistent corporate advocacy in support of science based policy can help deliver action at scale. We Mean Business Coalition is proud to support this call to action, and through our Responsible Policy Engagement framework we provide tools to help companies meet rising expectations – and turn their climate ambition into vocal advocacy.” – María Mendiluce, CEO We Mean Business Coalition

“We won’t be able to achieve the future we all seek without non-state actors stepping up and delivering on their net zero goals and aligning their policy advocacy with their climate actions. Ceres is proud to support this call for action as it will take the private sector, working with governments, to advance the policies that will accelerate the transition to a stronger, more resilient economy.” – Mindy Lubber, CEO and President of Ceres and member of the global Steering Committee of the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative

“Voluntary climate action has proven that we can align firms to climate goals, forging the know-how and political support to scale up. Now it is up to regulators to harvest the benefits by weaving smart net zero regulations for the whole economy. As net zero regulations proliferate, it is vital for regulators to work together across borders and across regulatory domains to ensure fragmentation does not slow the transition. Giving a voice to least developed countries, who can be affected by the domestic regulations major economies adopt, is particularly important.” – Professor Tom Hale, Chair Expert Peer Review Group of Race to Zero

“The science leaves no room for any doubt: achieving net zero emissions is the only way to keep global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. But it takes all of us. It’s paramount that all states and regions join other non-Party stakeholders, including the Under2 Coalition, in following today’s call for greater action on net zero advocacy and engagement. Race to Zero provides a strong framework for

more states and regions to do that – giving us a better chance of leaving a liveable world to future generations.” – Nehmat Kaur, Head of Subnational Governments, Under2 Coalition

“Net-zero commitments by non-state actors must be backed up with proactive, science-aligned climate policy advocacy to be credible. Why? Because the UN’s climate science panel is clear that net-zero by 2050 will not be achieved without robust policy and regulatory intervention at all levels of government, across the entire economy. The Climate Champions are right to clarify expectations in this area because committing to net-zero while being linked to oppositional climate policy advocacy, either directly or by association, is an increasingly recognized indicator of net-zero greenwash. To ensure leading actors who are aligning their advocacy with net-zero goals get the credit they deserve, this call to action must be supported by robust accountability processes to monitor and verify disclosures.” – Ed Collins, Influence Map

“It is critical that non-state actors put their weight behind calls for ambitious environmental policies, including the introduction of high-quality mandatory corporate disclosure requirements. Regulation of disclosure creates a level playing field, which benefits companies in today’s highly competitive business environment, while also boosting accountability by allowing for better tracking of companies’ and countries’ progress towards net-zero commitments. It is also vital that national governments work shoulder to shoulder with sub-national governments to create the right policies to easily and quickly enable their plans and targets to become reality. Policy and regulation can, and must, play an important role in establishing a baseline for credible and comparable transition plans: essential tools for reaching net-zero by ensuring corporations, cities, states and regions haven’t just set a target, but actually have a plan in place to achieve it.” – Pietro Bertazzi, Global Director for Policy Engagement and External Affairs, CDP

The science is clear that net-zero by 2050 will not be achieved without robust policy and regulatory intervention. This is where the unique position of representative organisations such as trade associations and professional bodies comes into play. Regardless of the industry or profession represented, CAFA calls on all membership organisations to take proactive, non oppositional leadership, provide guidance, establish governance, embed standards and drive science aligned climate policy and advocacy. CAFA endorses the UN Climate Champions call on non-state actors to align their advocacy and engagement with a just transition to net zero and we continue to support and celebrate those membership organisations that align their engagement with net zero goals. – Alison Heppenstall – CEO, Climate Action for Associations

“Companies are critical in revolutionising how we live, eat, work and play. Governments serve their terms, get reelected or not, but businesses endure; some of them timelessly. They can drive innovation, change and develop in ways that are unrivalled. Companies can choose to play an active role in developing and taking steps towards Net Zero, including encouraging others to do so. Global emissions have reached such unimaginable levels that It is right for non-state actors, such as companies, to advocate for governments to set the conditions for decarbonization and remove the barriers that work against it.” – Maria Outters, Chief Impact Officer, Science Based Targets Initiative

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