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BSR COP21 Daily Dispatches

December 4 / Day 5

Editor’s Note

Despite the world’s attention to climate change right now, it is often thought of as tomorrow’s problem.

But the effects of global warming—including intense storms, floods, droughts, and extreme temperatures—affect us all right now. For business, these impacts include disrupted supply chains, reduced availability of natural resources, damaged infrastructure and utilities, and increased market volatility. Some estimate that if we continue on our current path of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change will cost as much as US$4 trillion by 2030.

The #IceWatchParis art installation opened yesterday on the Place du Panthéon and features ice blocks from Greenland that will melt away during COP21. Photo: @altparadigm.

The #IceWatchParis art installation opened yesterday on the Place du Panthéon and features ice blocks from Greenland that will melt away during COP21. Photo: @altparadigm.

To survive and grow, business must invest in climate resilience, which was the theme of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda on Wednesday.

But what does resilience mean to the private sector? For business, the path to climate resilience consists of two important steps:

  1. Deepen understanding of climate vulnerability: While business leaders traditionally consider climate vulnerability through the lens of risk—to operations, facilities, raw materials, or financial loss—genuine resilience requires an understanding of how climate vulnerability is connected to the financial, political, legal, cultural, and social landscapes that the business operates within.
  2. Enhance adaptive capacity: BSR has identified seven assets—physical, natural, governance, technological, knowledge, social, and financial—that business leaders can use to strengthen their companies’ resilience in the face of climate change, and to enhance the ability of communities to rebound and prosper in a climate-constrained world.

The innovative power of the private sector is critical for building a resilient business and a resilient world. And now that resilience has entered the conversation at COP21, let’s use this as our moment to ensure that climate resilience receives the same political parity as mitigation. The Paris Agreement can treat both with the same urgency, for example, by establishing collective mitigation and adaptation goals.

What's Important Now

While the business and investor community is hopeful that COP21 will deliver a transformative agreement, many are growing anxious over the slow pace of the negotiations and governments’ ability to deliver the ambitious agreement the private sector needs to shift to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.

Only faster progress at COP21 will produce the ambitious, catalytic agreement business needs. The agreement must send strong signals to the private sector, including a clear and actionable long-term goal, continuous improvement of government commitments every five years, and a strong transparency system to help businesses see the regulatory risks and opportunities available to them worldwide. (Read more about what business is asking in the We Mean Business brief.)

The French presidency is now consulting with all countries before proposing a way forward for the second week of negotiations. French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius and his team deserve our support.

Edward Cameron

BSR's Climate Insights

Our featured content relates to BSR events today on innovative business models, supply chain resilience, and short-lived climate pollutants:

  • Climate Panel Explores Low-Carbon Future at the BSR Conference 2015: Read more
  • Can Sustainable Business Meet Its Moment? Read more
  • Addressing Climate Change Through Technology: Read more
  • The Urgent Need for Resilient Systems: Read more
  • How to Get a Climate-Resilient Supply Chain: Read more
  • Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: The Unusual Suspect of Climate Change: Read more

What We're Reading

  • Growing the Economy and Keeping Communities Safe | We Mean Business | December 3, 2015: Read more
  • A Tricky Issue: Finding the Right Phrase to Cover a Seemingly Familiar One | ClimateWire | December 3, 2015: Read more
  • New International Initiatives Increase Resilience, Protecting Millions of People | UNFCCC and the Lima-Paris Action Agenda | December 2, 2015: Read more
  • The $100 Billion Key to a Global Deal at the UN Climate Change Talks | Bloomberg Business | December 3, 2015: Read more
  • The Luxury Sector Now Focused on a Sustainable Future | The New York Times | December 1, 2015: Read more
  • How Climate Change is Reshaping Our Planet, from a Drone’s Perspective | Mashable | December 3, 2015: Read more

* ICYMI: Read the We Mean Business “Business Brief: Shaping a Catalytic Paris Agreement,” which outlines eight key policy requests from business: Read more


With so many events and activities taking place in Paris throughout COP21, here’s a short list of events BSR is hosting and where we will have speakers:

  • December 4, 3-4:45 p.m., at the Grand Palais

    BSR Senior Vice President Eric Olson will speak at a CDP-L’Oréal supply chain event, which will showcase the related global benefits of meeting ambitious supply chain targets. For more information, visit wemeanbusinesscoalition.org/events/cdp-supply-chain-event-loreal.

  • December 4, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Grand Palais

    BSR President and CEO Aron Cramer will speak about digital carbon disruptors at a side event organized by Accenture, “Transforming Business Models to Benefit Both Customers and the Climate.” For more information, visit www.accenture.com/us-en/cop21-agenda.aspx.

  • December 4, 3-6:15 p.m., in the Conference Center (Blue Zone) at Le Bourget

    BSR will host “Short-Lived Climate Pollutants” as part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda. BSR President and CEO Aron Cramer will provide an address and showcase companies that have pledged to reduce emissions from short-lived climate pollutants, as well as private-sector initiatives led by the UNEP-Climate and Clean Air Coalition. BSR will also preview reports written on the topic with the UNEP-Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which will be released in early 2016. For more information, visit newsroom.unfccc.int/lpaa/events/#COP21.


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Business in a Climate-Constrained World

BSR’s “Business in a Climate-Constrained World” strategy catalyzes private-sector action on climate resilience in two ways: by helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with holding global mean temperature rises to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels and by enhancing adaptive capacity in the face of inevitable climate impacts.


We Mean Business logo

  Report cover


3-D Printing: Sustainability Opportunities and Challenges

  Report cover


Business Action for Climate-Resilient Supply Chains

Report cover


Climate Resilience and the Role of the Private Sector in Thailand

About BSR

BSR is a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit www.bsr.org for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.

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