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Niels B Christiansen: calling for tough action on climate change

DENMARK: The president and CEO of Danfoss, Niels B Christiansen, is one of 43 top CEO signatories to an open letter to world leaders urging concrete action on climate change.

The signatories, who also include Marks and Spencer CEO Marc Bolland, Unilever’s Paul Polman, Toshiba Corporation chairman Masashi Muromachi and Volvo’s Olof Persson, represent companies with total global revenues of over $1.2 trillion in 2014. All are drawn from the CEOs Climate Leadership Group sponsored by the World Economic Forum and the United Nations.

Calling on governments to take bold action at the Paris climate conference in December 2015, the letter says: “This coalition…believes the private sector has a responsibility to actively engage in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and to help lead the global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. This coalition further seeks to catalyse and aggregate action and initiatives from companies from all industry sectors — towards delivering concrete climate solutions and innovations in their practices, operations and policies.

“We extend an open offer to national governments to meet and co-design tangible actions as well as ambitious, effective targets that are appropriate for their different jurisdictions.”

The group says their own companies are taking voluntary actions to reduce environmental and carbon footprints, setting their own targets to reduce GHG emissions and/or energy consumption while also collaborating in supply chains and at sectoral levels.

The CEOs also insist that effective climate policies have to include explicit or implicit prices on carbon. They urge a strategic action agenda   that will complement business efforts to stimulate innovation, the development of alternative and renewable energy sources, the promotion of energy efficiency and an acceleration of other low-carbon options and technologies such as ICT.

They also call for new financial instruments to stimulate alternative energy and efficiency projects as well as green bonds.

“Hastening the shift to a low-carbon economy in an economically sustainable manner will generate growth and jobs in both the developing and developed world,” they say. “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.

The signatories are:

Olof Persson, president and CEO, AB Volvo
Pierre Nanterme, chairman and CEO, Accenture
José Manuel Entrecanales Domecq, chairman and CEO, Acciona
Ton Büchner, CEO, AkzoNobel
Michael Diekmann, Cchairman of the board of management (CEO), Allianz SE
Gregory Hodkinson, chairman, Arup Group
Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT Group
Niels B Christiansen, president and CEO, Danfoss
Frank Appel, CEO, Deutsche Post DHL Group
Henrik Poulsen, CEO, DONG Energy
Andrew N Liveris, president, chairman and CEO, Dow Chemical Company
Francesco Starace, CEO and general manager, Enel SpA
Hans E Vestberg, president and CEO, Ericsson
Gérard Mestrallet, chairman and CEO, GDF Suez
Bernardo Gradin, CEO, GranBio Investimentos
Ajit Gulabchand, chairman and managing director, Hindustan Construction Company
Stuart Gulliver, group CEO, HSBC Holdings
Ignacio S Galán, chairman and CEO, Iberdrola
Peter Agnefjäll, president and CEO, IKEA Group
Ralph Hamers, CEO, ING Group
Sandra Wu Wen-Hsiu, chairperson and CEO, Kokusai Kogyo
Bruno Lafont, chairman and CEO, Lafarge
Marc Bolland, CEO, Marks and Spencer
Nikolaus von Bomhard, chairman of the board of management, Munich Re
Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO, PensionDanmark
Eric Rondolat, CEO, Philips Lighting
Feike Sijbesma, CEO and chairman of the managing board, Royal DSM
Frans van Houten, president and CEO, Royal Philips
Jean-Pascal Tricoire, chairman and CEO, Schneider Electric
Franky Oesman Widjaja, chairman and CEO, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food
Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO, Solvay
Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, president and CEO, Statkraft
Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO, Suez Environnement
Takeshi Niinami, president and CEO, Suntory Holdings
Tulsi Tanti, chairman, Suzlon Energy
Michel M Liès, group CEO, Swiss Re
Masashi Muromachi, chairman of the board, Toshiba Corporation
Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
Antoine Frérot, chairman and CEO, Veolia
Anders Runevad, group president and CEO, Vestas Wind Systems
Anthony Pratt, executive chairman, Visy Industries
David W Kenny, chairman and CEO, The Weather Company
Kuok Khoon Hong, chairman and CEO, Wilmar International