Brighter prospects for a low-carbon future

Cutting emissions and generating growth not mutually exclusive experts say.

Multi-stakeholder partnerships between governments, business leaders, investors and communities can help drive growth and reduce CO2 emissions simultaneously. This kind of collaboration can help the world achieve low-carbon, climate-resilient growth. And there is reason for optimism given technological innovation and strengthening political commitment.

These are the essential messages conveyed by Seizing the Global Opportunity - Partnerships for Better Growth and Better Climate, a report published by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

Suggestions to boost growth

Established to help governments, businesses and society make smarter decisions on how to achieve economic prosperity and also address climate change, the Commission comprises former heads of government, leading business figures – including Swiss Re CEO Michel Liès – investors, city mayors and economists.

The report makes ten concrete recommendations that can boost economic growth and reduce climate risk. These proposals, the report says, could help generate all the emission reductions required by 2030 to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Among the recommendations made are the implementation of low-carbon urban development strategies, trillion dollar investments in in clean energy, the introduction of effective carbon pricing and the reduction of emissions from aircraft and shipping.

Swiss Re's solid commitment

While some of these measures will fall to governments and international agencies, it will be the task of the corporate world to drive many of the necessary innovations. And to stay competitive in the process they will need to maintain the lowest operating costs possible.

One very important way Swiss Re is achieving this goal is through its commitment to purchasing renewable energy wherever possible. This has enabled it to currently source about 80% of its total power requirements from renewable energy sources. Through its membership in the RE100 organization, Swiss Re aims to encourage production of renewable energy generation in its key markets both now and in the future. In doing so, it contributes to improving the availability of low-carbon electricity across the globe.

Swiss Re is part of RE100 and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate because it is acutely aware that climate change has to be kept in check. In the words of Michel Liès: "The goals of achieving economic growth and reducing climate risk are by no means in conflict. Sustained growth cannot be achieved unless we address the risks associated with climate change."

Published 8 July 2015

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