The chief of the United Nations summit on climate change urged an international business conference with Banorte Chairman Carlos Hank González to “increase your ambitions and boost your advocacy” of strong steps to combat global warming.
COP26 President Alok Sharma called on the leading executives to “make your support for climate action known to governments around the world” because “action from companies encourages action from countries.”
“Please use your power, the power of business, to set the world on the right track,” Sharma said Oct. 26 at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) virtual forum.
Sharma, a member of the British Parliament, praised the sustainability efforts of the ICC conference participants, who besides Banorte’s Carlos Hank González included about 18 other top corporate executives, from P&G and BP to IKEA and Nestle.
Sharma said the companies have engaged in “fantastic work” that should encourage other businesses to embrace policies – some being debated at COP26 this month in Scotland – to help keep the average global temperature from increasing 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Help us make COP26 a key turning point in the fight against climate change,” he said.
ICC Chairman Paul Drechsler told the group that countries must adopt more serious measures to cut emissions, and they must do so now.
“We have no reason not to be prepared for climate change. The time for talking is done. The time for real commitment to action by nations, institutions and businesses is now,” Drechsler said.
And he said the private sector is key to achieving climate goals. “We know as business leaders that when we commit to action, we achieve great things,” he said.
In his presentation, Carlos Hank González, the only Mexican representative on the panel, said the finance industry must step up to drive sustainable business efforts, support new economic opportunities and protect the planet.
He noted that Banorte, one of Mexico’s largest financial groups, has been an ESG pioneer, with a social and environmental management system that evaluates risks and possible impacts on the environment and communities before financing any project.
In an interview with Reuters after the conference, he said the companies need to “grasp the timeliness of the issue” and do more with data and research to help shift capital to sustainable business activities.
“Financial institutions must identify the sectors and sub-industries whose operations, products and services, as well as their supply chains, are not aligned with sustainable development,” Carlos Hank González said.
He noted that Banorte supports the Net Zero Banking Alliance and in the Principles for Responsible Banking. It also has endorsed the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, an initiative to help financial services and other industries more closely assess nature-related risks and opportunities.
COP26 is the annual meeting of the 197 countries that have agreed to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, originally adopted in 1992. The meeting is the decision-making body of the countries that signed onto that and is aimed at assessing how well nations are dealing with climate change.