Peter Robinson, USCIB: Business wants “very ambitious, clear, transparent agreement” to offer predictability in all major economies

10 December 2015

Peter Robinson, President & CEO, United States Council for International Business

PARIS: The Climate Group’s Climate TV talks to Peter Robinson, President and CEO, United States Council for International Business (USCIB), about what the American and global business community wants from a climate deal at COP21 – and how leading businesses will continue to profit from low carbon growth whatever comes out of Paris in the next 24 hours.

Speaking live from Paris just hours after the new draft text was presented by the French presidency, Peter Robinson explained that because the USCIB is affiliated with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) which encompasses businesses from 130 countries around the world, the USCIB is a “very representative spokes-organization on behalf of the private sector”.

With its powerful collective voice, the USCIB, ICC and member companies around the world are in Paris for three objectives, the CEO says. “We want a very ambitious, clear transparent agreement that will offer predictability to all the players that need to be accounted for including business going forward, and one that will include all major economies of the world.

“Secondly we need an agreement that will encourage innovation so we can develop the technologies and deploy the technologies that need to be in place around the world to best address mitigation and adaptation situations.

“And thirdly we think it is very important that there be an ongoing framework, an embedded positon for business in the agreement going forward to help work out the details with governments that will need to be addressed after COP21 is finished.”

But while Parties in Paris continue to work through the night on the text to iron-out their differences around certain ‘sticking points’ such as finance and mitigation, Peter Robinson asserts that the international business community will continue to make long-term low carbon investment decisions despite the outcome.

“We are very hopeful for a strong and successful outcome here in Paris. But I have to say that business is moving forward anyway. I have been real impressed with leadership of French business community, and all that is going on.”

As well as France’s business sector, the CEO also applauds movements in the US, where 154 companies have committed to the White House’s American Business Act on Climate pledge.

The businesses collectively employ nearly 11 million people and represent more than US$4.2 trillion in annual revenue, so their public position has the power to resonate across all markets and sectors in America and beyond.

Also this week at COP21, The Climate Group's global collaborative business initiative in partnership with CDP, RE100 – which supports companies on their journeys to sourcing 100% of their electricity from renewable energy – passed a milestone as BMW Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Swiss Post and others joined, taking the total number of committed companies to 53.

Several world-leading ICT companies including Microsoft, Adobe and Google also joined RE100 last week.

Peter Robinson concludes the Climate TV interview assured that the private sector will lead the global low carbon transition whether or not a strong pact is agreed in the next 24 hours, but that a robust deal will undoubtedly speed things up. “Business is moving ahead anyway, but it will be able to move ahead a lot more efficiently and effectively with a predictable framework for action going forward. That’s why we’re really hoping for a successful outcome here.”  

The final agreement is expected to be delivered on Friday night, but as is the case with most COPs in the past, it may be until the early hours of Saturday that businesses and all others in Paris have to wait.

  • You can watch more of our exclusive video interviews with climate leaders and experts by following the hashtag #ClimateTV on social media.

Text by Clare Saxon Ghauri, video by Ilario D'Amato

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