City veteran takes action to reduce corporate carbon emissions

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City veteran Sir Ian Cheshire has been named the first independent chairman of a coalition, backed by Amazon and Ikea, with fundraising plans to help businesses cut carbon emissions.

On Tuesday, Cheshire, the former chairman of Barclays UK and former chief executive of DIY retailer Kingfisher, will take on the role of chairman of We Mean Business Coalition, a Euro-American non-profit organization that aims to incentivize private enterprise Act. on climate change.

Cheshire, who sits on the board of BT Group, said the coalition wanted to quickly accelerate the number of companies committing to plans consistent with halving their emissions by 2030.

The new leader also wants to increase the coalition’s $20 million annual budget to support new technologies that groups can use on a large scale to reduce their carbon footprint.

Cheshire said one route to higher environmental standards would be to fundraise to attract institutional funds to invest in opportunities identified by the coalition.

He said: “There is a huge amount of money trying to find a home in sustainable finance solutions in a number of areas, to create funds that invest in longer-term transformation. [and] go back.

He added that the coalition already had “a relatively large sum of money” to unlock “much more” investment in climate change initiatives, such as naming projects around low-carbon cement. and batteries.

We Mean Business claims to have helped more than 5,000 companies, from large multinationals to SMEs around the world, to make ambitious commitments and plans to fight climate change.

Amazon and Ikea are its founding partners, with other funds coming from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, a philanthropic organization set up by hedge fund investor Sir Chris Hohn and telecommunications company Verizon Communications.

Cheshire said its goal would be to find solutions to practical problems facing entire industries. “Like how do you make cement or steel for buildings? These are largely collaborative solutions, you’re not going to find just one company to solve this problem. »

He also pledged to work closely with governments. Cheshire chaired the UK government’s Global Resources Initiative Task Force, which sought to ensure the country’s global commodity supply chain was sustainable and avoided deforestation. He also chairs the Food, Agriculture and Landscape Commission.

“There’s a kind of terrific spaghetti soup sense of initiative. . . if we align to act, if we lobby governments around the world, we can have much more impact.

He said it was important for businesses to continue to build on the work done at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last year.

Summit organizers have come under heavy criticism from some business groups for shutting them out with high barriers to entry. Others expressed frustration that national governments are not acting quickly enough to tackle climate change.

Cheshire said COP26 “was neither a triumph nor a disaster. . . It is a necessary step, but not sufficient to reach the end, that is why we must continue”.

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