Over the weekend the business community held its meetings coinciding with CoP17.
In Copenhagen, the business community, especially in Europe, had mobilized for a deal and arrived in force. Even the financial and investor communities turned up. But then the negotiation process came unraveled and some blamed the business community for not mobilizing enough.
In Cancun, having licked its wounds and learned lessons, the business community adopted the classic entrepreneurial behavior of “don’t ask permission, just apologize afterwards” i.e. don’t wait for a deal- if it makes business sense go ahead.
There, the focus was on action on the ground, strategies, and innovations for firms across the world.
In Durban, things have moved on yet again – here, there is a greater focus on adaptation and, while the stories of success are powerful, there was a call for action again - for the public sector to set the conditions necessary to move ahead at speed and scale.
I detected some frustration from the private sector at their lack of voice in the design of the Green Fund, including the fear that, for the private sector, not only the funding terms but also the composition of fund management is key criteria.
But when it came to today’s discussion in particular on adaptation there were many examples of firms moving ahead with climate risk assessments, leading to new business processes and new products in some cases.
The businesses dependent on water have perhaps moved fastest and furthest. Many of them, including Coca Cola and SAB Miller, have pioneered partnerships in understanding the water gap (between supply and demand) by 2030.
The Water Resources Group partnership will soon be housed in IFC with the Bank in the Steering Group and may be a good example of how we need to work together on adaptation-based mitigation.
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