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The Next Economy
Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders:
10 Measures to Close the Emissions-Reduction Gap

New WEF report finds a 600-gigaton gap in national emissions-reduction ambitions and policies that must be closed to keep 1.5°C target alive, and outlines 10 ways for businesses and governments to accelerate decarbonization and close this gap.

The Alliance for CEO Climate Leaders, a CEO-led community facilitated by the World Economic Forum that is committed to accelerating the net-zero transition, has released a report calling on businesses and governments to shift from incremental to systemic actions to meet climate goals.

Bold Measures to Close the Climate Action Gap: A Call for Systemic Change by Governments and Corporations, published in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), complements the State of Climate Action report launched prior to COP28.

According to the analysis, while individual climate action has increased, collectively the sum is not sufficient to reach the level of systemic change needed. There is a 600-plus-gigaton gap in national emissions-reduction ambition and policy that needs to be closed to limit global warming to 1.5°C — which calls for stronger government action.

Meanwhile, looking at CDP data for the 1,000 largest companies globally, likely well over 10 percent of global emissions are in the supply chains of those companies — showing the dramatic systems impact that the world’s largest companies could have.

“The first UN global stocktake and the first part of this report have highlighted a large climate-action gap that we are not on track to close,” said Pim Valdre, Head of Climate Ambition Initiatives at the World Economic Forum. “We need to urgently shift into delivery mode — focusing on immediate actions with outsized impacts. Enabling these actions calls for public-private action to drive the right policies, technologies and financial solutions needed to achieve a system-wide transformation.”

While COP28 yielded some forward momentum — including global agreements to triple renewable energy and double energy efficiency by 2030 — more is needed to deliver on commitments, the report concludes.

The Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders — which consists of leaders from more than 120 top companies from a range of sectors and regions, representing more than $4 trillion in total revenues and 12 million employees — called for decision-makers at the WEF’s Annual Meeting in Davos this week to shift from incremental actions to those that can transform systems and reach exponential impact.

“While COP28 resulted in progress and many companies have already started climate initiatives, the sum of the parts is still insufficient. Companies remain constrained by obstacles such as high costs and interest rates, low customer willingness to pay, or a lack of supporting permitting and regulations,” said Rich Lesser, Global Chair of BCG and Chief Advisor to the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders. “This report brings answers to these obstacles, with examples of practical actions that can transform systems from the inside. If all government and corporate leaders start acting on them now and together, we will go a long way towards the scale of impact that we need.”

Private-sector action

Companies can and should drive systemic impact beyond their internal initiatives. The report highlights five actions with the potential for dramatic impact:

  • Accelerate supplier decarbonization: According to CDP data, likely well over 10 percent of global emissions are in the supply chains of the 1,000 largest companies globally.

  • Enable customers to make more sustainable choices: Reducing the first 50 percent of many products’ emissions can be achieved with an end-price impact of under 1 percent.

  • Drive change with peers in their industry, especially in supply-chain ‘pinch points’: 10 players or less control more than 40 percent of many key markets.

  • Engage in cross-industry partnerships — especially large-scale buying groups: mobilizing less than 10 percent of the 1,000 largest companies’ Capex and purchases could close the climate-funding gap.

  • Advocate and support bolder policies: According to InfluenceMap, the advocacy of 95 percent of global companies is today either misaligned with the Paris goals or sending mixed signals.

Government action

Governments have a major responsibility to deploy mitigation solutions in a just and socially acceptable way. The report highlights five priorities to help governments close the 600-plus-gigaton emissions gap:

How to deliver these and other critical actions for the net-zero transition will be discussed at a meeting of the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders this week at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.