Secretary, Kerry and Ladies and Gentlemen,
I can’t tell you how pleased I am to see you for once in person. It is a great treat after seeing you all on a screen for the last sixteen months and endless ‘zoom’ meetings. So it is a great moment, Ladies and Gentlemen.
And I particularly wanted to say on this occasion how grateful I am to all of you for joining us here because we do have I think a potentially game-changing opportunity to drive forward the partnerships between government, business and private sector finance that are absolutely vital if we are to win the battle to combat climate change and biodiversity loss.
I am hugely grateful for a start to Prime Minister Johnson for actually asking my Sustainable Markets Initiative to bring G7 Leaders together with Global CEOs during the G7 Summit in Cornwall tomorrow. Our CEO Network now represents $60 trillion of assets which if you think about it is pretty staggering when you compare it to the entire world’s GDP of $88 trillion. Working together, and in the closest possible partnership with Governments, we can move – and actually are moving if we are going to – mountains.
As I am afraid I have been trying to say for several decades, unless we can actually unlock private sector resource, innovation and finance, with the public sector setting a framework of incentives and regulation, we just don’t stand a chance of solving the existential crises we have engineered over the years.
Now of course, I am very far from being the only person beating this drum for decades and I particularly want to pay a very special tribute to my old friend, Secretary John Kerry, for his own remarkable leadership on this whole issue. In fact, his enthusiasm for this partnership between G7 leaders and CEOs like yourselves, may perhaps have overtaken even mine…! So it is extremely kind of you, John, to have come all this way to be with us today. I am enormously grateful for, without your help at this critical stage, we will get nowhere.
If I may so, I am similarly hugely grateful to Alok Sharma for joining us, as COP26 President. 2021 is a “Year of Summits”, promising transformative action on climate change. We are all committed, in our own ways, to devoting every fibre of our being to make sure that this really is the year we turn a corner and start winning this battle. The G7 is, of course, important both in itself and as a stepping stone to the G20 and then COP26; it is hugely encouraging to see everyone in this room joining forces to ensure that ambition translates into action – at last!
I know the SMI’s over 300 CEOs have been consulted on the opportunity that we have now with G7 leaders and on how the private sector and private finance can accelerate their efforts – with G7’s, and wider government, support. As major influencers of the world’s economy and financial system, the G7 is key to driving this agenda for economic transformation. For example, through my discussions with President Macron over the past year, we are working to bring together his One Planet Initiatives with our Terra Carta Transition Coalitions to accelerate real impact in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture and textiles.
So you, Ladies and Gentlemen, as CEOs, are very much representatives of the wider ‘Coalition of the Willing’ that we have assembled across the private sector and private finance.
And in this regard, and in an effort to join up the dots, which is what matters most I believe. I have been hugely encouraged by our work with the G7 Sherpas, whom I was delighted to host in the garden here just a few weeks ago, on three practical initiatives which have been shared with G7 leaders:
Firstly, a framework that will help drive finance and investment from the private sector to the highest priority sustainability projects around the world – what you will all know of course as the “Investment to Investables Pipeline”.
Secondly, 10 Terra Carta Transition Alliances aiming to drive tens of trillions of dollars in sustainable investment and industry action for transition across ten of the highest emitting and polluting industries. Energy, Road Transport, Fashion & Textiles, Health Systems, Technology, Waste, Plastics & Chemicals, Aviation and Shipping. All these industries.
And, thirdly, recommendations on the market signals from governments that would help the private sector and private investment accelerate their efforts across industries.
Now, I know that you all have been discussing, with Brian, how best to position this with G7 leaders tomorrow and I much look forward to hearing your reflections on this. Needless to say, the ‘holding to account’ works both ways, since I know, as business leaders, that you are as fully committed as government to being held to account…
Following an incredibly successful White House Climate Summit in April – with bold and powerful commitments, including the commitment from U.S. banks to invest $4.16 trillion in climate solutions over the next ten years and Denmark’s announcement to decarbonize the global shipping sector to build the world’s first energy islands to produce clean fuels and supply power to Europe. So, perhaps on that basis I could ask Secretary Kerry to share with us his thoughts on how we can best seize this opportunity with the G7 and, most importantly, build on it with the G20 and for COP26.