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Businesses should move ahead of government and cut carbon emissions

The business community needs to ‘just get on with it’, and not wait for carbon emissions reduction policy and government to catch up, says a panel of international business leaders. This is especially true coming out of the COP15 global climate dialogues in Copenhagen last year, which failed to produce a fair, ambitious and binding agreement. Implications of the uneven and uninspired global regulatory climate for the business community were discussed by a Globe 2010 international panel of business representatives who are demonstrating sustainability leadership.

Panelists agreed that business are the actors who will deliver carbon reductions. Daniel Hendrix, President & CEO of the sustainable carpet company Interface, called out industry as the “one got us into the problem so industry needs to get us out of it.” Hendrix also pointed to the worlds’ top 50 companies as the ones who will make or break global carbon emission reduction goals, suggesting that industry will need to reinvent itself.

Shell Petroleum’s Graeme Sweeney, Executive Vice President of CO2 said, “we definitively shouldn’t wait for the policy framework to emerge and get on with the business at hand.” Sweeney said that the outcomes, or lack of outcomes, from COP15 doesn’t change what Shell is doing about carbon emissions. The company continues to focus on “making fossil fuels an effective part of solution” with an emphasis on carbon capture and storage, producing more supplies of natural gas, and increasing biofuels. There is no change, said Sweeny, because demands by customers and society as a whole hasn’t changed. Good news that Shell is thinking about solutions, but these efforts aren’t going to get them to carbon neutrality, or 80% reductions by 2050, so a binding agreement would be useful in this case, and many others.

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