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COP28: Convening Purpose-Driven Business Leaders

As COP28 approaches, turning climate promises into real action is paramount. Controversially, a major oil producer is hosting, prompting concerns about the neutrality on fossil fuels. UAE's COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber leads the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, targeting major production increases through 2027.

Still, the UAE touts its climate credentials as the first Middle Eastern country to ratify Paris and announce net zero by 2050 aims. Ultimately, COP28 represents a vital stocktake of Paris Agreement progress. Key focuses will include strengthening commitments, closing emissions gaps, and channelling finance.

Four priority areas are technology innovation, inclusion, frontline communities, and climate financing. Specific issues range from health to transport to agriculture. But tensions loom around undefined loss and damage funding and ongoing fossil fuel usage.

President Al Jaber advocates a "phase down" of fossil fuels along with deploying unproven carbon capture. But some demand faster, fuller phase outs. While Al Jaber's oil industry ties raise concerns, his nuanced stance could enable progress.

Amid valid concerns, hope remains that COP28 can deliver heightened ambition. The world needs bold collective action on just transitions, clean energy, adaptation, and inclusive climate prosperity. UAE's resources could, if well directed, help drive breakthroughs.

With stakes high, businesses have both an opportunity and a responsibility to combat the climate crisis through purpose-driven leadership. Corporations can drive meaningful climate impact by:

  • Establishing ambitious science-based emissions reduction targets and implementing renewable energy, efficiency, and carbon removal strategies to achieve them

  • Embedding sustainability across operations and supply chains via circular production, waste minimization, and green procurement

  • Investing directly in scaling clean energy solutions like wind, solar, and electric vehicles to decarbonize their footprint and value chains

  • Pioneering and championing climate-friendly technologies to reduce emissions across sectors

  • Advocating for carbon pricing policies and renewable incentives at all levels of government.

  • Engaging employees as sustainability ambassadors and supporting community climate initiatives

  • Pursuing radical transparency through public emissions disclosures and investor engagement on climate strategy

The window for transformational corporate climate leadership is rapidly closing. But by leveraging their full innovation, technology, and influence potential, businesses can still help chart the course to a just and sustainable future for all. The time to act is now.

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