GRI Urges Businesses to go Beyond Carbon as World Leaders Sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement in New York

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GRI Urges Businesses to go Beyond Carbon as World Leaders Sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement in New York

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GRI urges biz to go #beyondcarbon as world leaders sign the #ParisAgreement -> http://bit.ly/1VGCzL6 #EarthDay2016

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Friday, April 22, 2016 - 10:00am

CAMPAIGN: Beyond Carbon, Beyond Reports

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The Paris Climate Change Agreement opens for signatures today during a high-level ceremony convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York. All Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC) are invited to sign the agreement. GRI’s Chief Executive, Michael Meehan is attending, together with some 60 world leaders, among them, President Francois Hollande of France, and China’s President, Xi Jinping. The attendance by China is seen as a major step, with the country dubbed as the world’s manufacturing powerhouse and largest carbon emitter. Over 150 countries will be present at the event. 
 
“GRI is honored to take part in the signing of the Paris Agreement at the UN Headquarters in New York this week. The signing of the agreement moves these countries closer to action on climate change, something GRI wholeheartedly supports,” explains Michael Meehan. “Of course, climate change isn’t just about carbon and energy, and the impacts of climate change affect all aspects of human life and the ecosystem on which it depends. GRI will continue to push for a broad view of the risks related to climate change, how they impact all stakeholders, and how we can work towards these COP21 goals through disclosure and transparency.” 
 
The signing represents an important boost to the momentum of the historic agreement which limits global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Implementation of the Paris Agreement is essential for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and provides a roadmap for climate action that will reduce emissions and build climate resilience. 
 
In parallel to today’s signing, GRI is urging individual businesses around the globe to play their part in helping to achieve the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions laid out in the Agreement. 
 
Transparency, measuring and reporting are central to the Paris Agreement
All countries have agreed to publicly outline what post-2020 climate actions they intend to take under the new international agreement, known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). All governments must measure and track the implementation of INDCs. Every five years, the commitment will be reviewed and potentially sharpened. 
 
The technicalities of the reporting framework are being developed over the course of this year – but as a minimum, reporting will be done at the national level of each individual country. It is likely that instead of reinventing the wheel, sustainability reporting standards like GRI and the CDP carbon tracking will be used as a source for developing an implementation and review system. 
 
The GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines are currently evolving into a new set of modular, interrelated GRI Standards to enable reporting organizations to make a greater contribution to sustainable development. The new modular structure will allow individual standards to be updated independently, ensuring that the standards remain consistent with authoritative intergovernmental instruments and best-practice. This is an important development, reflecting the fast changing sustainability agenda and emerging international agreements such as the Paris Agreement. 
 
Moving Beyond Carbon 
The Paris agreement is not only about carbon. It’s about ensuring the broad sustainability of our planet. A strong climate agreement, backed by action on the ground, will help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, build stronger economies and safer, healthier, and more livable societies everywhere. 
 
Although the main focus of the Agreement is on greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation, this is embedded within a broad sustainability context. Human rights in particular, have a direct link to climate change. “Solving the climate challenge is about addressing the world’s inequality and improving the lives of the men, women and children who are already suffering,” explains GRI Deputy Chief Executive Teresa Fogelberg. 
 
“When governments and businesses view climate change through a human rights lens, they create a better understanding of how operations affect the lives of people. GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards bring climate change and human rights together into one methodology that organizations can use to measure, manage and communicate their sustainability risks and opportunities.”
 
Supporting emerging markets in their contributions to the INDCs
Emerging markets are often the hardest hit by impacts of climate change. It is imperative that the private sector contribution to the INDCs, especially in emerging countries, is fully taken into account. The private sector has a vital role to play, and governments need to recognize this and engage companies fully in the global efforts against climate change. 
 
GRI, in partnership with the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ), is helping governments and business assess, measure and report on their contribution to the INDCs. GRI and GIZ are developing a new methodology to link business action and reported data to government statistics on INDCs for carbon emissions and beyond. 
 
Over the coming months, GRI will be engaging businesses in a variety of ways. Providing training on climate change reporting is just one of the ways GRI is helping to expand reporting capacity. GRI’s Climate Change workshops, offered in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya in April and May explore the connection between business impacts and reporting with government targets, and reporting under the COP agreement and INDCs. The training will also be offered as a Masterclass on 20 May at the 5th GRI Global Conference
 
On this International Earth Day and international signing of the #ParisAgreement, GRI urges organizations to join us in celebrating a bold and necessary next step in the progress towards climate action by going #beyondcarbon.
Keywords: Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Environment | GRI | GRI2016 | Paris Agreement | sustainability

CAMPAIGN: Beyond Carbon, Beyond Reports

CONTENT: Article

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