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Delaying action on climate change will hurt growth: Global CEOs

November 23, 2015 17:58 IST

Advocating the need for meaningful "global action" to deal with climate change, honchos of 78 corporates, including from India, today said delaying action would damage growth prospects in the years to come.

Ahead of the crucial global climate change talks beginning later this month in Paris, the corporate honchos asserted that they would act as ambassadors for climate action, focusing on solutions and economic opportunities.

The open letter on climate change has been signed by 79 chiefs, including Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry, Infosys CEO and Managing Director Vishal Sikka, Mahindra group Chairman Anand Mahindra, who represent multinationals from India, Brazil, China, Europe and the US.

These chiefs from 78 companies -- a cross-sectoral coalition facilitated by the World Economic Forum (WEF)-- includes those from banking, manufacturing, construction and energy sectors. "The CEOs, who represent $ 2.13 trillion in revenue –- equivalent to India's GDP -- say that an economically sustainable shift to a low-carbon future will create 'jobs and growth' across the world," WEF said in a release.

They have also extended an open offer to governments to co-design climate solutions ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris. "Delaying action is not an option, it will be costly and will damage growth prospects in the years to come.

"The CEO climate leaders call on government leaders and policy makers to align on global measures, to be consistent in policy-making and to develop helpful innovation frameworks," they said.

Agreeing on the need for "inspirational and meaningful global action and aligned messaging", the corporate honchos said their companies are taking voluntary actions to reduce environmental and carbon footprints. "We will act as ambassadors for climate action, focusing on solutions and economic opportunities and using 'the science debate is over: climate change is real and addressable' as one of common themes to raise public awareness," the letter said.

Other Indian signatories are Wipro CEO T K Kurien, Suzlon Energy Chairman Tulsi Tanti, Hindustan Construction Company Chairman and MD Ajit Gulabchand, Jindal Steel & Power Group MD and CEO Ravi Uppal, JSW Steel Chairman and MD Sajjan Jindal, and Welspun Energy Co-Founder and MD Vineet Mittal.

According to WEF, a key challenge in climate negotiations is how emerging economies would find investment to shift to greener energy systems and build infrastructure to withstand the floods and heat waves.

Among others signatories are PepsiCo's India-origin CEO Indra Nooyi, ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer, HSBC Holdings Plc Group CEO Stuart Gulliver, LafargeHolcim CEO Eric Olsen, Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke and Unilever CEO Paul Polman.

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