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Climate Week Paris: no economic growth unless we tackle climate change, says Unilever boss



Business leaders and investors have gathered in Paris this week to discuss and demand climate measures to ensure long-term economic and environmental sustainability.

The Climate Week Paris is organised by the Climate Group ahead of crucial UN talks in December 2015, when global leaders will gather in the French capital to discuss a binding agreement to keep global warming under the 2C threshold.

The event gathers business, finance and political leaders to set out a series of recommendations for policymakers ahead of the UN’s COP21 talks in December.

Unilever’s chief executive Paul Polman told the BBC, “There was a belief among some politicians that the main challenge is job creation and economic growth, and if we get side-tracked with climate we might not achieve the economic growth.

“The reality is, if we don’t tackle climate change we won’t achieve economic growth.”

Unilever has recently announced a series of green successes, including achieving zero waste to landfill across its global factory network, a 20% energy use reduction and 1 million tonnes of CO2 saved since 2008 – the equivalent of €244 million (£177m).

Ethical finance will also be a focus of the event. On Tuesday, Philippe Zaouati, CEO of Mirova will host a Twitter Q&A. He said, “The global market for sustainable investing is booming, with assets having grown 61% from 2012 to 2014 to reach US$21.4 trillion.

Traditional market mechanisms do not meet the needs of a fast-changing social and economic landscape, which is being shaped by climate change. Responsible investment is innovating and disrupting the financial sector, to provide social and green entrepreneurs with the funding they need to help create a better future.

“I’m looking forward to taking part in this Twitter Q&A to discuss the finances, policy and business and public support that will help us reach a low carbon economy that is prosperous for both top investors and poor communities around the world.”

May 22 will be Climate Finance Day at Climate Week Paris, with the focus being on the role of investors in helping the low carbon energy transition.

Photo: Roger Wollstadt via flickr


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Further reading:

Former Tory minister Gregory Barker joins the Climate Group’s board of trustees

 Climate ‘milestone’ reached as global carbon dioxide levels surpass 400ppm

 IEA: low-carbon technology spending needs to triple to meet climate goals

 WHEB investment helps cut annual air emissions by 400 tonnes


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