The need fully to engage the private sector reflects not only the growing determination of business to act in a sustainable way but, crucially, its determination to listen to customers. And customers are saying that they want their investment choices to make a positive difference to climate change.
One practical result of my work with the private sector on corporate, social and environmental responsibility for the past 25 years is that growing numbers of pension funds have made a commitment to set climate solutions at the heart of their long-term investment decision-making.
To ensure a large-scale deployment of capital, these pension funds need clear long-term policies to be agreed here this week. This request is supported by the 191 financial institutions with assets of over 13 trillion dollars which signed the International Investor Statement on Climate Change.
A further practical contribution is a statement by the international Corporate Leaders Group, of which I am patron – comprising over 900 of the world's most prominent companies drawn from more than 63 countries, including all the G20 members – on the significant business opportunities which a robust, effective and equitable global climate agreement could deliver.
In helping to facilitate these initiatives, my simple aim has been to show that we can all make a difference if we are determined to do so. Above all, I am convinced it is these kinds of global partnerships – between government, business, NGOs, civil society and even individuals – that will provide the global solutions needed to secure our future.
Subsequent inflows of private-sector investment would do much to reinforce the credibility of all those, particularly in the poorest countries, who have had the courage to believe in the positive outcome of this meeting. Several of their leaders, while being only too aware of the immediate economic benefits of monetising their countries' natural capital, have still chosen to follow the difficult path of turning their economies towards sustainable development. Such visionary people have a vital role to play in helping the world to find the strength needed to address its problems. But they desperately need our support, for without it they may not have a second chance.
Taken from a speech given at the Climate Change Conference yesterday