The Climate Group
|Employees||approx. 100 worldwide|
|Members||approx 80 business and government organisations|
The Climate Group is a non-profit organization that works internationally with business and government to promote clean technologies and policies, with the aim of expanding clean technology markets and reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. After launching with the support of Tony Blair in 2004, the organization now has offices in the UK (headquarters), the United States, Europe, Australia, India, mainland China and Hong Kong. As of December 2010, The Climate Group's membership included 80 large companies and state/city-level governments from around the world, with members representing 15% of global GDP.
The Climate Group says it is one of the world’s first business and government alliances working to create solutions to climate change that are compatible with economic growth.
Solutions pursued by the organization include its technology programs, such as the LED 'Lightsavers' global trial taking place in cities such as New York, Hong Kong and Kolkata; the Climate Principles project, under which financial institutions (including Credit Agricole, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Swiss Re, F&C Asset Management and BNP Paribas) agree to consider climate change when structuring their service and product offerings; the States and Regions Alliance, designed to encourage state, provincial and city government climate change initiatives; and publications assessing and promoting the potential value of low carbon technologies and policies.
It has partnered a range of initiatives and reports with organisations including the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSi), International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the Carbon Disclosure Project, the New York Academy of Sciences, the United Nations Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, the Office of Tony Blair and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBSCD).
The Climate Group was created in 2004 by ex-CEO and founder Steve Howard to engage major companies and sub-national governments and encourage them to take action on climate change. To join, a company or government must sign the organization's leadership principles. Former UK prime minister Tony Blair has supported the group since launch and has appeared at a number of the organization's events. Since 2004, the organization has grown and now has offices in London, New York, Brussels, Australia, Beijing, Hong Kong and Delhi.
The consumer engagement campaign Together, which lasted for approximately two years in the UK, was launched in the US in June 2008 in New York. Around six months later, Together ceased to operate in the US.
In 2011, Mark Kenber, previously deputy-CEO, took over from Steve Howard as CEO.
The Climate Group states that it functions independently of any corporate and government entities. It funds its work from a variety of revenue streams. The organization's 2007-2008 Annual Report indicates that over 75% of its funding is from philanthropic donations, foundations and other NGOs, as well as from the philanthropic HSBC Climate Partnership.
Business and government members pay to be members of The Climate Group, and that funding accounts for approximately 20 per cent of the organization's operating budget. Many of its programmes are carried out in partnership with members, whose sponsorship is often the primary source of revenue for those individual programs (such as Together). The Climate Group states that overall strategy is driven by staff - sometimes in consultation with members - and approved by its board, and that there is no link between membership and governance of the organisation.
HSBC Climate Partnership
In 2007, HSBC announced that The Climate Group, along with WWF, Earthwatch, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, would be a partner in the HSBC Climate Partnership, and donated US$100 million to fund joint work - the largest-ever single corporate philanthropic donation to the environment. The results of this program can be seen in HSBC’s 2010 Partnership Review, and HSBC’s Clean Cities film of December 2010. The Clean Cities film specifically outlines some of The Climate Group’s achievements enabled by this program, including LED pilots in New York, clean technology finance in Mumbai, consumer campaigns in London and cutting employee carbon footprints in Hong Kong.
As of December 2010, The Climate Group coalition included 80 of the world's largest companies and governments (including, for example, the City of New York, Miami, Los Angeles, the State of California, most Canadian and Australian provinces and the City of London). It also works with a variety of associate members and partner organisations on initiatives such as The Climate Principles, The Aviation Global Deal Group and Breaking the Climate Deadlock.
The Climate Group also publishes research reports that seek to highlight the opportunities that low-emissions technology can provide in terms of both decreased emissions and economic growth. Some include:
- Smart 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age – this 2008 report, produced in partnership with the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, presents research showing that smarter IT could reduce global emissions by 15 per cent and save EUR 500 billion in annual energy costs by 2020.
- The UK-India Business Leaders Climate Group – launched in February 2010 to provide advice to the UK and India on 'how to accelerate collaborative, climate-friendly economic growth'.
- CCS: Mobilising Private Sector Finance – launched in September 2010, this report produced with the Ecofin Research Foundation examines the risks and returns of carbon capture and sequestration projects from the perspective of European financial institutions.
- China's Clean Revolution series – to December 2010, three reports have been released on China's renewable energy policies. The latest report was released on December 6, 2010, to coincide with COP16 in Cancun, is the China Clean Revolution Report III: Low Carbon Development in Cities
- COP 16: Post-Cancun Analysis briefing – released January 2011, this policy briefing paper provides The Climate Group’s analysis of the 2010 UN Climate Conference in Cancun, with views on what it means for governments and businesses.
The Climate Group spearheads and supports a growing number of what it says are 'game-changing' initiatives. They include:
The Climate Group works with its government and business partners to demonstrate low emissions technologies with the goal of accelerating the ‘scale up’ of these technologies until they are widespread. Technology programs include:
- The LED program, which aims to accelerate widespread adoption of this lighting technology. The programs aim is for LED lighting to represent 25% of the global indoor and outdoor lighting market by 2020, reducing electricity use and costs — and associated CO2 emissions — by 50 - 70%. Demonstration projects are operating in many cities across the globe including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kolkata, London, New York and Sydney.
- The Carbon Capture and Storage program, which aims to develop carbon capture and storage demonstration plants in China, India, the US, Europe and Australia.
- The SMART 2020 program, which aims to harness smart information and communication technologies, such as smart grid technologies and building management systems, to reduce emissions by up to 15% by 2020.
- The EV20 program, which aims to build the momentum of the electric vehicles market through partnerships with car and battery manufacturers, electricity utilities, financial institutions and governments.
States and Regions
The Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance is underpinned by a recognition of the important role that sub-national governments are playing in tackling climate change on the ground. The UN Development Program estimates that 50-80% of actions required to take limit global temperature rises to two degrees will need to arise from sub-national levels of government. The Climate Group argues that while global negotiations continue to prove difficult, its State and Regions Alliance members, as well as other subnational governments, will play an essential role in building a global climate change deal from the bottom-up. Updates on developments in sub-national government climate policies and low emissions technology programs across the globe are maintained on The Climate Group’s website.
Through its States and Regions program, The Climate Group brings heads of sub-national governments together in events such as Cancun’s China Day and Climate Leaders Summit 2010. Agreed statements arising from these events, signed by the organization’s members, include the Copenhagen Statement of 2009 and the Cancun Statement of 2010. The States and Regions program also facilitates partnerships between developed and developing nation sub-national governments, giving rise to projects such as assessment of regional vulnerability to climate change impacts.
The Climate Group also runs specific initiatives separate from its ongoing project streams. These projects include:
- The Greenhouse Indicator, a weekly indicator of greenhouse gas emissions produced from the generation of energy in Australian states including New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. Emissions are reported in newspaper publications including The Age.
- The Climate Principles, a framework for the finance sector that major international financial institutions such as Credit Agricole, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Swiss Re, F&C Asset Management and BNP Paribas have adopted. Signatories of the Principles are working to include climate change considerations in all their financial products and services.
- The HSBC Climate Partnership, which includes The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The Partnership aims to reduce major city carbon emissions, monitor climate change impacts on forests and waterways, and empower individuals in their communities and workplaces to contribute to climate change action and research.
- Climate Week NY˚C, a partnership between The Climate Group, the United Nations, the UN Foundation, the City of New York, the Government of Denmark, Tck Tck Tck Campaign and Carbon Disclosure Project.
Previous projects include:
- Together. In 2007 The Climate Group launched a consumer engagement campaign in the UK called Together, supported by Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Boris Johnson, David James, Claudia Schiffer and Annie Lennox. Together worked with big brand names to bring consumers easy ways they can help fight climate change. In May 2009, the Together Campaign reported that its partners had helped UK consumers save over 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and around £200 million on their household bills. Together also ran in Australia and the United States.
- VerifiedCarbon Standard. The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) launched in November 2007. The objective of the VCS is to boost confidence in the voluntary carbon market by providing a new and much needed quality assurance for certification of credible voluntary carbon offsets.
- Breaking the Climate Deadlock. In late 2009, delegates gathered at the UNFCCC COP-15 in Copenhagen. Climate Group sought to help encourage a fair and effective agreement, along with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.