COP25: Carbon pricing, finance and fashion

The Greenhouse PR team is in Madrid for the COP25 UN Climate Change Conference, which takes place from December 2-13. As leaders from around the world gather to discuss how to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise towards 1.5C, we will be blogging each day from both high-level and side events throughout the summit. You can also follow us live from COP25 on Twitter.

Today was about finding our bearings and getting to grips with how the UN Climate Change Conference works. But we’ve also had the chance to listen to some inspiring talks and panel discussions from global climate leaders about everything from finance to fashion. Grasping a sense of the mood at the fringes of the main negotiations, here’s what we learned on our first day at COP25.

Carbon pricing

Carbon pricing is a phenomenon still in its early stages – though many accept it is something we need, few can agree on how it should be implemented. We attended a panel of top academics from Harvard University, Chinese governments and EU institutions, who discussed ways that carbon pricing could work in the future.

Although the carbon pricing industry has little regulation, panellists agreed that a unified way forward which encourages investment in carbon-neutral development – while not harming those who are worst off – is urgently needed.

COP25 side event on deconstructing the taxonomy around sustainable finance

Sustainable fashion

This year sustainable fashion has been a hot topic, as more and more retailers seek to move away from the negative impacts of fast fashion. The Fashion Industry Charter was passed at COP24 last year, and today we had an update on its progress. The host for the talk was Lucy Shea, CEO of Futerra, who revealed that fashion accounts for 10% of global emissions, and consequently that 96% of companies feel pressure to become more sustainable.

The fashion industry must harness this positive collective power to make a difference. Or as Valerie Keller, CEO of Imagine put it: “100 flowers have bloomed – now we need to make a bouquet”.

Deconstructing sustainable finance

Many in the green movement talk about the importance of sustainable finance, but defining exactly what this means is key to transparency and impact. If we have a common understanding and language around sustainable finance, we can help end greenwashing and accelerate action.

We attended a panel session which sought to ‘deconstruct the taxonomy’ around sustainable finance at COP25. Helena Viñes Fiestas, head of Sustainability Research at BNP Paribas Asset Management explained: “The taxonomy is a reference point – like a recommended daily allowance on a cereal box – to inform you exactly what the composition of a financial product is, so you can make an informed decision about whether you want to invest in it.”

Institutional investors

If we are to shift the billions from fossil fuels into renewable and sustainable projects, we need institutional investors to be on side. Our final panel of the day, entitled ‘The Investor Agenda’, explained that there is a huge investment gap in renewable energy which must be filled – and while public money is important, it cannot do the job alone.

Speakers from asset management firms such as Aviva and BNP Paribas outlined their sustainable investment policies. While there is clearly still some way to go – particularly with reference to ending investment in coal – as one of the key speakers affirmed: “we’re on the cusp of big change”. This statement summarises the overriding feeling from the fringes of COP25 as the UN Climate Change Conference moves into its intense second week.

Will Vowell, Madrid

Greenhouse PR works with organisations and leaders who are pioneering climate action. Whether it’s food, fashion, finance or farming, if you’ve got a great story and need our help to tell it, get in touch with the Greenhouse team on 0117 214 1250 or email info@greenhousepr.co.uk.

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